Nathaniel Hawthorne came home from his job at a custom house (a building housing the offices that process legal paperwork) devastated that he had just been let go. When he broke the news to his wife, however, she responded with joy! “Now you can write your book!” Puzzled, he asked, “And what shall we live on while I’m writing it?” Mrs. Hawthorne walked over to a drawer in the kitchen, slowly reached inside, and then retrieved a stack of money she had been saving unbeknownst to him. “I always knew you were a man of genius. And that you’d one day write your masterpiece.” And because of the faith and affirming words of Mrs. Hawthorne toward her husband, every library in the world has a copy of The Scarlet Letter.
Faith and affirmation. I wonder if you realize how much power God has given you? I wonder if you realize that you have the ability to turn the tide in someone’s life through faith and affirming words? Not solely faith in God (certainly that’s where it begins as God works in our hearts) but by placing faith in others. By telling them, showing them, that you believe in them. By affirming to them that you believe they can accomplish great things.
Isn’t that what God has done for us through Jesus? “I believe in you Jason,” the Gospel declares. But what about us? Do we speak a word of hope into the lives of others? Whether to the children that we tuck in bed every night in our all too comfortable homes, or to the man who sleeps in his car at the corner of Elm St. and Bonner Ave. Do we demonstrate faith in them and affirm them in such a way, that they begin to believe that God has something more in store for their lives than what they can presently see?
James, the brother of Jesus, affirms to us, “Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do” (James 2:18). Later on he confronts us, “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men… my brothers, this should not be” (James 3:9-10).
With our words we build up. With our words we tear down. With our actions the Kingdom is furthered. And with our actions the Kingdom is hemmed in.
“The tongue has the power of life and death” (Proverbs 18:21).
You, have the power of life and death….
Glory to God!