Proverbs 10:21 The lips of the righteous feed many, but fools die for lack of sense. – ESV
The Bible has a lot to say about the words we speak. It says death and life are in the power of the tongue in Proverbs 18:21. In James 3 it says the tongue is a restless evil, full of deadly poison and that it is set on fire by hell.
These are sobering verses and hopefully cause us to consider the words that come from our mouths carefully. In the age we live, there are few things sacred enough, according to the masses, to cause us to take real stock of what we say. Life is a big joke to many. But in Matthew 12:36 we learn that all the careless words we speak are stored up for judgment some day.
Let’s Feed People With Righteous Words
So having established the importance of wisdom in refraining from evil speech, let’s move on to the verse I started with. It is not only important to refrain from evil speech, but also to be proactive in righteous speech.
According to the verse I started with, if we are truly righteous, our lips will feed many. How does this happen? Generally, when we think of spiritual food and those who feed people with it, we think of the fivefold ministry. We think of people operating in those positions of authority. But does this task fall exclusively to them? Apparently not.
Apparently the only qualification we need to feed many is to be righteous. Sure, it seems impracticable for those with no platform to feed many, since we see people in ministry feeding many at one time in a crowded sanctuary or arena. But it doesn’t say we will necessarily feed many at one time.
Think of all the different people you’ve come in contact with throughout your Christian walk so far. Those were all people you had the potential to feed with your lips. Depending on how many years you have left, you will perhaps come in contact with even way more people than you already have. This is just as sobering as the thought of the great potential for evil our tongues have.
So what does it look like to feed the people we come in contact with? I’m not sure that I have all the answers to that, but I’ll start with a few thoughts anyway. I’ve found that one of the biggest hindrances for me in feeding people spiritually, is to speak in the flesh because I don’t feel like I am in a spiritual setting. The temptation is real to categorize our lives and separate what we perceive as spiritual and what is carnal.
If we do this, then whatever we categorize as carnal will definitely be carnal. But if we redeem every moment we have and surrender it to the Lord, He can speak life through us even if the situation doesn’t seem that spiritual. And our words might not even sound spiritual. But if we surrender them to God, He infuses them with life no matter what our perception is of them. I would certainly not consider it necessary to intentionally try to make every word we speak sound spiritual to our own ears or to the ears of those listening. That becomes fake, religious and forced in a hurry.
Perhaps all we need is to allow the Lord to anoint our words with the power of the Holy Spirit. If we acknowledge Him in this way, He will direct our path in this way. He will establish our thoughts and give us those words we need to feed a starving generation.