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The Gift of Words

Good morning. It is Thursday, August 11, 2022. Jeanette Stark here.

I learned a new word today.

I’m old enough to remember The Reader’s Digest. Anyone else?

Reader’s Digest was first published in 1922 by DeWitt Wallace and his wife Lila. A man ahead of his time and the world’s earliest “content curator,” DeWitt Wallace recognized that people were hungry for information but overwhelmed by choice, so he began collecting the best stories from a vast array of publications and condensing them into what today is almost universally referred to as “the Reader’s Digest version.” Each issue contained 31 articles, one to read each day of the month. Within five years the Wallaces were printing and distributing 30,000 copies.

By the 1940s, the Digest had surpassed 1 million copies a month and was the best-selling publication in America—exceeded in sales only by the Bible and spreading its own gospel of “America the Great.” Reader's Digest remained the best-selling consumer magazine in the U.S. until it lost that distinction in 2009 to Better Homes and Gardens. (Source:

My mom received the Reader’s Digest. I can still see the pastel covers in pink and green and blue. There were many features and articles I liked including Word of the Day. It was fun and often curious to learn new words.

So, the word I learned today is, “Snick”.

The word mistakenly slipped out of my mouth as I tried to say, “sick”.

Thinking I had come up with a new word, and immediately trying to invent a meaning or definition, Denise called my desk and broke the sad news. “It’s not a new word.”

What? Well, so much for inventing a new word.


1. To cut a small notch or incision in something · to make an indentation

2. cause something to make a sharp clicking sound


New words are entering the language all the time. In 2019, no one could have predicted what has become a defining word of 2020: COVID-19. At the same time, existing words evolve. What’s the first thing that comes to mind with tweet? A bird or social media? Old words fall out of use, and we don’t just mean Shakespeare’s methinks. What do we do with VHS or MySpace? And slang words come and go. (


The average 20-year-old native English speaker knows an average of 42,000 words, although they may actively only use 20,000 of them.

According to Merriam-Webster, there is no exact count of the number of words in English, because our language is always expanding, but it has been estimated that the English vocabulary includes roughly 1 million words.


A co-worker shared with me this morning a story where someone was terribly upset with a woman who had said something unkind, 10 years ago! For 10 years she has harbored, and frankly nourished, those words until they were deeply entangled in the fabric of her life. Ten years!

God gave us the gift of language but how we use it is the important thing.

The Bible tells us that we will have to answer someday for the words that have come out of our mouth.

“But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matthew 12:36-37 NKJV

I have a book on my shelf titled “Foods That Harm; Foods That Heal.”

I want to play off that title because I know there are words that harm and words that heal. How we use our words is critical.

Proverbs 16:24 says gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.

But they can also be quite the opposite.

“A fool’s lips enter into contention, and his mouth calls for blows. A fool’s mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul. The words of a talebearer (gossip or slanderer) are like tasty trifles, and they go down into the inmost body (or rooms of the belly).” Proverbs 18:6-8 NKJV

What we say, how we say it, when we say it should always be a matter of prayer. Don’t let your mouth run ahead of God’s plan.

“A serpent may bite when it is not charmed; the babbler is no different…the lips of a fool shall swallow him up; the words of his mouth begin with foolishness, and the end of his talk is raving madness.” Ecclesiastes 10:11-13 NKJV

If we want to point people to Christ, we must show love and kindness. We must speak softly and gently. There is only one way to truly introduce Jesus to others. It must be done with love.

Ephesians 4:15 tells us to speak the truth with love and verse 4:29 says, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”

Let’s strive daily, hourly and minute-by-minute to speak with love and kindness.

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, o Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14 NKJV

We have the power to draw others to Christ. We also have the power to turn people away from Christ. Let’s use our power to lift up Jesus Christ and show others the love that He has for them.

John 12:32 “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”

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