Thursday, October 10, 2013

Bring on the bling!

If you are old enough, you may remember the Marilyn Monroe - Jane Russell movie, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, in which Marilyn sings “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend.” There is just something about bling and sparkle that we gals love. In reality, I came to enjoy this only later in my life.

For most of my marriage I discouraged Don from purchasing any jewelry for me. I had my simple wedding ring set and wore pearl studs and a watch, and occasionally a small cross around my neck - and that was it for me. Then Emmy became a Premier Designs sales consultant, and my world changed! I like to tell people that “when God told me to exercise, I thought He said, ‘Accessorize!’ ” All of a sudden I needed all kinds of jewelry pieces to complete my ensembles! The end result of this change is that I now have a giant drawer FILLED with jewelry! I could start my own business. I used to order pieces, and Emmy would tell me, “Mom, you already HAVE that one!” Seriously!

Well, our Proverbs verses for today tell us that the words we speak and hear are even more essential to our appearance!

A word fitly spoken

    is like apples of gold in a setting of silver. 
Like a gold ring or an ornament of gold

    is a wise reprover to a listening ear. (Proverbs 25:11-12 ESV)

Another version says,

The right word at the right time

    is like a custom-made piece of jewelry,

And a wise friend’s timely reprimand

    is like a gold ring slipped on your finger. (The Message)

It is amazing to me how the right words, spoken at just the perfect time, have brightened my day. In fact, some remain with me to this day. I will never forget when I was a new teacher, very discouraged by my lack of ability on a particularly trying day with first graders, when a sweet Christian coworker took my hands to pray with me as she said, “Sally, you just need to pray that you will LOOK competent while you are BECOMING competent!” I so needed to hear that! It transformed my view of myself, as I gave myself permission to be a learner, even as a teacher.

I have long believed that one of the most important spiritual gifts we have as believers is the gift of encouragement. When we can help buttress up another believer who is struggling by giving the exact word of encouragement she needs, we are throwing her a lifeline! And the more we use this gift, looking for daily opportunities to practice it, the more it becomes second nature to us. I learned from my mother that I should never let an opportunity to pay a compliment pass, because you may never get the chance to say it again. The world tears us all down daily! How refreshing to hear a positive word! So I look for chances to give out verbal blessings.

Besides dishing out blessings, sometimes we need be ready to lovingly give the necessary reprimand or word of correction when we are prompted by God to do so. I have received words of correction throughout my life that have profoundly impacted my behavior and attitudes. So, there have been many times when I have also needed to give out the truth to someone when some correction was essential. That’s not as easy, and not fun in any way. But Proverbs assures us that the fit word of reproof at the right time is just as powerful and precious as gold to the person willing to hear it.

A good word of reproof is not condemning. It is not designed to kill and destroy but to build up and strengthen. Paul exhorted the Thessalonians to “encourage the fainthearted.” (I Thes 5:14)  When someone is in a weakened state, we have the power to lift them up with our words. Let’s choose to do that rather than delivering the fatal blow!

I certainly don’t need any of the jewelry I have in that drawer. Although, I have to admit that, since I rarely open it, it’s always like finding a Christmas present when I dig in and see something “new!” And it’s not even real gold (I already sold all of that at a gold party years ago)! But the kind words, the encouraging, affirming words from others I never outgrow! Those I need and cherish! And the worth of the words of reproof and correction I have received over my lifetime will only be totally known in eternity! But I treasure those as well. Let’s keep our eyes open for chances to bless, and keep our ears open to admonishment when needed. They are the “bling” that lasts!  

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