What’s the First Word Out of Your Mouth?Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
Instantly Zechariah could speak again, and he began praising God.
I have a friend who tends to look on the dark side of things. Sometimes he reminds me exactly of Winnie the Pooh's pal Eeyore. No matter what the subject, chances are he'll come out with something negative. Now I like my friend for lots of reasons, but I sure wish he'd learn to be a little more positive once in a while!
So what about you? What's the first word out of your mouth? If, for example, you were to face an unexpected challenge or difficulty, what's the first thing you would say? Would you complain? Would you make excuses? Would you boast about your ability to handle it?
In the first section of Luke 1, Zechariah heard from an angel the amazing news that his wife, though past childbearing age, would bear a son. But Zechariah disbelieved what he had heard. As a result, God silenced him for the duration of his wife's pregnancy. When his son, John, was born, Zechariah's tongue was loosened. He could finally speak.
So what were the first words out of his mouth? Did he complain about how hard it had been to be silent for so long? No. Did he try to make excuses for what had happened to him? No. Rather, Luke tells us that Zechariah "began praising God" (1:64). The first word out of his mouth was a word of blessing for the Lord who had blessed him with a son.
How I wish I were more like Zechariah! No, I don't mean I want to be one of those Christians who says "Praise the Lord" so often it loses its significance. But I know people who remind me of Zechariah, in that they truly see all of life as a gift from God and an opportunity to serve him. When trials come, they are not apt to complain. Rather, they acknowledge God and his grace, yes, even praising him.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: So, what tends to be the first word out of your mouth? What do your friends, colleagues, and family members expect you to say? What helps you to praise the Lord genuinely?
PRAYER: Gracious God, I do wish I were more like Zechariah. No, not the man who doubted you. I'm already too much like that Zechariah. Rather, I'd like to be someone whose first word is a word of blessing. I'd like to become the sort of person who truly acknowledges you, whose first thought is to give you praise.
Help me, Lord, to learn to see all of life as a gift from you. When trials come, may I trust that you are still in control. May I be able to speak of you, yes, even to praise you. And when you bless me, may I be like Zechariah by returning blessing to you as my very first word.
All praise and honor be to you, God of might and mercy. Amen.