Member Care - Be Encouraged!

January 01, 2004 | Featured
By Mark Gwartney

Why is it that apples are associated with Teachers? I hesitate to mention that apples are also associated with the Fall of Mankind! The latter association is a faulty one, so we won’t go there. Maybe I need to research the “apple connection” regarding teachers. If any of you have ever checked it out, I would love to know.

Proverbs 25:11 has something to say about apples.... A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver. God, for some reason, drew the analogy of apples to our words. What picture do you draw with your words? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our students, fellow missionaries, national co-workers and the community around us described our words to them as “like apples of gold in settings of silver?”

Words are powerful. A wise man’s heart guides his mouth, and his lips promote instruction. (Proverbs 16:23) It’s so easy to associate our profession ("instruction") with godliness, yet fail to take the time to evaluate it. Do your lips promote instruction? Do you think that God was just talking about the core (another apple pun!) educational curriculum in that verse? I’m sure you know the answer is “no.” I am grateful that our ministry promotes instruction far beyond Math and Science.

That verse also mentioned the heart. There is something more difficult than visualizing our own speech (like the “apples of gold” picture). Recognize that it’s not just our words, but it is our heart that might be rotten at times. Matthew 12:34 tells us, For out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. Now that can hurt!

I just wanted to remind you, friends, of a few thoughts from God’s Word as the year begins to wind down. Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (Ephesians 4:29) Building others up… According to their needs… As a benefit to them. That’s what I want my words to be.

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. (Psalm 19:14) When we follow the instructions above in the way we speak to others, then our words and our hearts will indeed be pleasing to our Lord. That is my goal; I hope it is yours too. Let us each strive to leave a sweet taste in the mouths of others as the end of this year draws near. ... like apples of gold in settings of silver! I love you guys and pray for you often.

Serving Him Together,

Mark Gwartney 

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