“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven…a time to be silent and a time to speak,” Ecclesiastes 3:1,7
Friend to Friend
When Steven was about seven-years-old, we went snow skiing. For hours I instructed him in how to stand up, ski down, and get up once he fell. Steven fell down, and fell down, and fell down. He was not getting the hang of it at all. What’s the problem, I wondered. Then I found out. It was me.
“Mom,” Steven cried, “If you just quit telling me what to do, I think I could get it.”
“Fine!” I said as I skied away in frustration. “Go ahead and do it your way!”
And you know what? He did. Thirty minutes later Steven was cruising down the slopes with ease. See I was the problem. My continual instruction was hindering Steven from working the maneuvers out on his own. The day started out being a skiing lesson for Steven, but ended up being a parenting lesson for me.
Sometimes the most powerful words are the ones we withhold. “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven…a time to be silent and a time to speak,” (Ecclesiastes 3:1,7). A wise woman learns the difference.
In the Bible, Esther is a wonderful example of a very wise woman who knew that timing was crucial. After much prayer, fasting and deliberation, she went before the King to make a petition for her people. It was an important request as the entire Hebrew nation was at stake. Rather than grovel at the King’s feet in dismay, she very calmly invited him to dinner. When the King attended the soirée the following evening, once again he invited Esther to make her request. Once again, she invited him to dinner the following evening.
At the second dinner party, the King offered yet a third opportunity for Esther to make her request. Finally, Esther revealed the evil Haman’s plot to annihilate the entire Hebrew nation, which included her life as well. It is an amazing story and I encourage you to read the book of Esther for yourself. But here’s a lesson among the drama. Esther had a very important request for the King. And yet, it was all about timing. Sure, she could have made the request the first time she approached the King and he extended the golden scepter in approval. Yes, she could have made her request at the first dinner party when he offered her anything she desired, “up to half his kingdom.” But there was something in Esther’s spirit that caused her to wait. The time wasn’t quite right.
Even though the Bible doesn’t tell us directly, I believe that Esther was listening to God. I believe the Holy Spirit was telling her to wait. Because she asked herself the question, to speak or not to speak, and then spoke when the time was right, the entire Hebrew nation was saved. That is the power of a woman’s words offered at the right time.
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven…a time to be silent and a time to speak,” (Ecclesiastes 3:1,7).
Lord, sometimes I talk too much. Help me know when to speak and when to keep silent. And Lord, give me the self-control and courage to do both.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Here is a fun verse to ponder. Job said, “I put my hand over my mouth.” Give it a try. I bet your hand is a perfect fit!
Think of a time that you did not speak, and later, you were so glad you didn’t.
Part of not speaking too quickly is learning how to listen. If you’d like a list of ways to become a better listener, visit my website and click on the Free Living Life Resources for a List of 30 Hints to Becoming a Good Listener.
More from the Girlfriends
Today’s devotion was taken from my book, The Power of a Woman’s Words. If you would like to learn about how to control your words and use them to speak life into those around you, then this is the book for you. Visit www.sharonjaynes.com to download a free chapter or watch a video. It also has a companion Bible Study Guide and DVD.