How important are the words I say?

Chets Creek Church 


40 Days with Jesus – November 21st – Luke 22:7-22


Years before I was born, my parents befriended a couple who were slightly older than them.  Their friendship was so close that they named me after him and I grew up referring to this couple as “Aunt Hilda” (stop it, I know… “Hilda”) and “Uncle Ken.”  I never knew life without them – they were unable to have children of their own, so they considered adoption.  Their reason for eventually deciding not to adopt?  They already had my brother, my two sisters and me.  We talked with them on the phone every day, we vacationed together every summer, every Friday night was dinner and game night together, every Sunday we would get together for a big pot of spaghetti, and at Christmas we usually got our biggest gifts from them.  We adored them and I’m pretty sure the feeling was mutual.


I learned some of my most important lessons in life from them: how to treat people, how to laugh at myself, the importance of hard work, and so many other things that make me who I am.  It was like having two sets of parents.


Several years down the line my dad died.  “Aunt Hilda” and “Uncle Ken” were there to grieve with us.  A few years later, “Aunt Hilda” had a stroke and eventually died.  Uncle Ken moved into an assisted living facility.  I was living in Orlando at the time and talked with him on the phone each week.  He started missing deadlines for bills.  He began forgetting where he was.  The diagnosis was Alzheimer’s and we had no idea how quickly his condition would degenerate.  I took off one weekend to drive up to Jacksonville to see him while he was still himself.  As I drove up, it struck me that this might be the last time I had a conversation with the Uncle Ken I had grown up with.  Soon, he would be confused and only vaguely recognize me, if at all.  But for that day, I was able to sit down with him and talk about life and reminisce together.  It was one of those conversations that, years later, I can still remember vividly down to the last detail.


As I left, I’ll never forget him calling out to me, “This was the best day of my life.”  There was something sad about that statement, but I knew it was the best way he knew to wrap his love for me into words.


And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”  In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.”  Luke 22:19-20 (NIV)


When I read the Lord’s Supper, I imagine that Jesus was wrapping up those most important things into words and images that the disciples would remember with crystal clarity for the rest of their lives.  His body, broken for us.  His blood, the cost for a new relationship between God and us.


Jesus loved these disciples that he had shared life with for years.  He wanted to make sure that even in the tough days ahead, they could look forward to the day when they would be reunited with Him face to face.  He shared important words with them that kept them warm through the winter of their persecution and eventual deaths.  These were words that changed the world and continue to change it even today.


Important words spoken into our lives give us strength.  I wonder how much more comfortable I would be in sharing my faith if it wasn’t “sharing my faith” (i.e. – memorizing an outline of facts and vomiting it on an unsuspecting friend), but rather sharing the words that are most important in my life.  Words that encapsulate who I am and remind me of God’s willingness to love me and challenge me, no matter what the cost to Him.


Those most important words always point back to God as the center of everything and His desire to snuggle us into His embrace.  What important words do you need to share with somebody today?  Maybe today can be the best day of their life.


Ken Mann


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