Growing up in North America, I never gave a second thought to the gallons of water I wasted each week as I left the tap running as I brushed my teeth. As a matter of course, I’d flush a single Kleenex down the toilet and not put it in the garbage. From childhood on, I let the water run until it was cold before filling my glass. It never occurred to me to keep a jug of chilled water in the fridge.
In rural Thailand, there is no room for such thoughtlessness. I learned how to conserve water shortly after my arrival as a missionary there.
Our local water supply was so unsafe that all bathing water needed to be boiled before we could shower. There were times when the trucks that delivered our drinking and cooking water were delayed by several days. Although we needed to stay hydrated, we were careful not to waste a single drop at such times. I learned you could brush your teeth with a quarter cup of water. I showered with a tenth of the amount of water I would have used before. Locals taught me how to wash and sterilise vegetables and fruit with a minimum of water. Sadly, upon my return to North America, many of the conservation techniques I learned overseas fell by the wayside in the land of plenty.
Imagine if you were only allowed to use a combined total of five hundred spoken or written words per day. Then imagine there was no guarantee that your quota of words would remain steady, and there was a real danger of losing your ability to communicate with those around you at any given moment. How would you spend those words?
Proverbs 13:3 – “Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.”
Would you spend your daily word ration on idle gossip? Would you waste them on that risqué joke that came across your office mailbox? Would you have a spending frenzy of choice words for rude drivers in the middle of a traffic jam? Would you use your daily allotment to argue with your spouse or take your children to task for their irritating behaviour?
Or would you carefully conserve your words to make sure they carry only encouraging truth to both yourself and those who come across your path? By using your words wisely, you not only nourish others, but you also bring life. By doing so, you might experience the same sense of satisfaction you feel after serving a delicious and nutritious meal for your family and friends.
Proverbs 16:24 – “Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.”
We serve a loving God, who lavishes His best gifts upon us. All He asks from us is that we be grateful and good stewards of His blessings. Let’s steward the precious gift of communication well!
Let’s go one step further, and conserve our thought life! After all, our thoughts are the source of our words.
How much of your thought life is consumed by negative self-talk, criticism about others, and complaints about life in general?
What feeds your thoughts? Television, movies, video games, trashy magazines? What music fills your home and car? What books are you reading? Do these things bring peace to your heart or do they stir up thoughts that aren’t wholesome, edifying, and life-affirming?
If fear and anxiety overwhelm your thoughts, go to the source. What stream is releasing those contaminants into your reservoir? Do you take God at His word and trust Him that all His promises are true? Have you fully given Him ownership over your finances, family, and future? Are there areas of your life that you secretly believe that you can handle better without God?
Are there some sins you need to own up to? Fear and anxiety are usually symptoms of unresolved heart issues; such as bitterness, resentment, etc. Are you honest in your financial dealings with the government?
If you constantly feel like the other shoe is about to drop, ask yourself this question. What am I hiding from or what am I trying to hide? Confess those areas to a trusted friend, pray together and then work out a plan to step out of hiding.
Philippians 4:6-7 – “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
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All Bible verses attributed to the ESV version unless otherwise indicated.
Until Next Week
©2018 Katherine Walden
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