The University of Arizona found that the average person speaks about 16,000 words a day. Using their results, we could assume that the average person speaks 5,632,000 words a year. That makes for a long conversation. Think of it this way. This article averages 500 words a week. That means that over the course of a year, if all words were recorded, it would be enough to fill this column 11,264 times.
We use a lot of words. Some are large and some are small. We know people that sound like human dictionaries and we know people that are professionals when it comes to expletives. Language is a powerful tool, given by God. It has the ability to cheer our hearts, make us weep, and alter the atmosphere around us. Even though the number of words we speak is vast, they are still numbered. At the end of the day, you will have spoken a certain number of words. There comes a point when words cannot be added to the day, and there is never a point when you can take back the words you have said. Knowing this, it would be silly for us not to use our words wisely.
Jesus told his disciples that the mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart (Mt. 12:34). We can probably do an adequate job of assessing our hearts by the words that come out of our mouths. I am not suggesting you analyze the words that come from others. I encourage you to evaluate your own words. How do you use them? Do you spend your time spreading gossip? How do you speak of others? Do your words build up or tear down? These are important questions to ask, especially in the midst of a conversation. However, this is by no means an exhaustive list.
So, is there a way for us to evaluate our words without listing questions? After all, we only have 16,000 words a day. Let’s not spend them all asking questions about our speech. Psalm 19:14 is a petition for God’s help and an expression of desire, “Let the words of my mouth and the mediation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.” I do not mean to over simplify, but of the 16,000 words we speak each day, how many of them are used to tell people about God and what he has done? Are they pleasing and acceptable to him? Remember language is a gift from God. Therefore, it is meant to be used for his glory. How will you use your words today?
This post was published in The Monitor of Naples, Texas on 9/8/2016.