I have an interesting conversation with my son today. We were outside all morning doing yard work. (Nothing says “Happy 4th of July!” like yard work, right?) And at this point, I had let him start a pile of dried grass and weeds on fire with a match. He’s done this before, and he had a bucket of water next to him, and I felt comfortable letting him have at it.
I was around the corner when I heard, “Mom? I really need you to come here!” Knowing the potential for danger, I set down the stuff I was working on and went over to him. The fire was fine, but he was a bit overwhelmed by how fast it had grown.
“Mom! It’s just crazy that that whole, huge fire started with just a tiny match!” he exclaimed to me. He said this more than once – it really amazed him.
I took this moment to remind him of a biblical lesson – the power of the tongue.
“Yeah, you’re right! It’s pretty amazing how fast that fire grew, isn’t it?!” I said to him. “It reminds me of that verse in the Bible that talks about the tongue. It says that the tongue can start a huge fire, just like a tiny spark or match.”
“So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire!” James 3:5
“Do you know what that means?” He looked like he thought he might but didn’t want to say anything.
“It means that the words you say can quickly grow and destroy things, just like this fire.” I said. “That’s one of the reasons why it’s so important to be careful what we say.”
“Oh!” he replied. Then he said something I’ve never heard anyone say before. It wasn’t necessarily incredibly profound, but yet our adult minds are so trained to see things only from one perspective, so it really threw me. “That could work in a good way too! You know, like if you tell people about God, that can spread like a fire too!”
He’s so right. While the tongue has the power to destroy, it also has the power to bring life.
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.” Proverbs18:21
May the fire of God – the light of His life – spread like a wildfire from us to the world.