Saturday, July 17, 2010

A Well-Taught Tongue by Kim Jackson

Week 29--July 18-24
Scripture Reading: Isaiah 40-60; Psalm 100-102
Key passage for devotion: Isaiah 50:4

I handed her my resume and watched as her eyes scanned the neatly presented information.
I could feel myself beginning to cringe. What would her response be? What comments might she make?

“So…it looks as if you haven’t quite decided what you want to be when you grow up….”

“Hmmm…it appears you’ve had a number of odd jobs in the last few years….some more odd than others.”

“Can you explain the gaps in your employment history?”

But when she finally looked up, her eyes locked on mine.

“You are an amazing woman.”

I don’t remember if I responded verbally, but I can tell you this: my spirit immediately took flight.

In that moment, Mara became the incarnation of Isaiah 50:4: “The Master, God, has given me a well-taught tongue so I know how to encourage tired people” (The Message).

Five words, refreshed soul. What a deal! Such a small investment on her part, but what a great gain on mine.

This scenario reminded me how much I desire a well-taught tongue. Not the kind that wins the Toastmasters’ World Championship of Public Speaking or the person who nails “It Pays to Increase Your Word Power” each month in Reader’s Digest. Just a God-guided tongue.

If Christians had a job description, “encourager” would no doubt be listed near the top. It is evident throughout the Bible that God has a high opinion of encouragement. For example, God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are each described as encouragers (2 Thessalonians 2:16, 17; Acts 9:31). And God’s Word gives us dozens of examples of encouragement and speaks frequently about its role in the lives of Jesus followers.

I have been abundantly blessed to personally know the power of a well-taught tongue: one that encourages, builds up, speaks hope in to despair, light in to darkness, truth in to lies, and reminds the forgetful, like me, of God’s marvelous promises.

For those who desire to have a well-taught tongue, the rest of Isaiah 50:4 holds the key. “He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught.”

I need the Lord to teach my tongue, that’s for certain. Left to my own devices my tongue will become more like the one described in the book of James: untamed. I’m embarrassed to admit, for example, that there are times when my “untaught tongue” isn’t content to speak a mere note of sarcasm, but has been known to conduct an entire symphony.

But what an incredible thought: God, my eternal Encourager, would like to wake me up in the morning by tuning my ears to His teaching. He will not only tame my tongue, he will make it an educated encourager!

I desire a well-taught tongue, like my friend Mara. God used her simple words to reframe my attitude and reenergize my spirit. She saw beyond the printed page to something far more worthwhile.

What weary soul could use an encouraging word from you today?

The LORD God gives me the right words to encourage the weary. Each morning he awakens me eager to learn his teaching (Isaiah 50:4 CEV).

Kim is a speaker and published writer who teaches a class called "The Creative Heart of God."  She founded the Crossroad's Communicators, a group of Christian writers who write for the WOW blog as well as the Communicator's blog.


  1. Love it, love it, love it Kim! Thanks for a well written reminder to encourage, especially in the day we are living. It is so vital to come alongside one another with a hug! Love, jan

  2. An inspiring lesson, Kim. Encouragement is so important. You are a blessing to many.


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