Do You Have a Word—And An Audience?

words-old-letters

I check the pockets before I put my shorts in the washing machine. I pull out a business card. Oh yeah. Pastor Xavier gave it to me on a Saturday morning at Outdoor Church, inviting me to visit his own church some Sunday.

He’s 50. He’s been drug-free since his teen years when he tried weed, not knowing it was laced with PCP and heroin. It left him messed up for months.

He made a deal with God then. If God would fix him, he’d devote his life to him.

They’ve both kept their word so far.

On this Saturday, Pastor Xavier and I were also talking to John (his real name), my friend from King’s Banquet. John and I met two years ago and our spirits clicked.

John was sharing his own story. Pastor Xavier thought others should hear it, too.

John said he didn’t have a platform and Pastor Xavier said he could have one at his church. His church was flexible. It wasn’t so regimented that others couldn’t speak there.

John wouldn’t commit because he tries hard to be a man of his word, and he wasn’t sure when he could make it. His regular church counted on his presence.

We appreciated his honesty. A person of his word—with a word—is a valuable thing.

I don’t know if John ever made it to Pastor Xavier’s church or not.

I’ve since heard that John has cancer. Terminal. Only a few months left.

I don’t want him to leave us.

I hope I see him at least once more before he goes.

  • To hear his latest story.
  • To hear of his faith in God.
  • To hear what he hopes will happen next.

I take Pastor Xavier’s business card and read the words on it one more time.

Words. They matter.

Because underneath each word is a person.

And every person matters.

  • Whether it’s a pastor who speaks words to a seated congregation every Sunday.
  • Or a wandering homeless man dying of cancer who speaks words to whoever is willing to listen.
  • Or a friend or neighbor or family member in the room next door who has something to say and something to hear.

Everybody has a word. Everybody deserves an audience.

Speak one. Hear one. Be a witness.

* * *

Who has listened to you lately? Who needs you to hear them? Please share in the comments.

32 thoughts on “Do You Have a Word—And An Audience?

  1. Michele Morin

    So many words out there, and so much pain to bear witness to.
    Thank you for this encouragement to do all that we can to keep listening and to stay close to the pulse of what’s closest to God’s heart — one person at a time.

  2. blankJoanne Viola

    Lisa, just beautiful. Words – they truly do matter because each person deserves to be heard. May we reflect our God who hears our every word uttered and listen attentively to those around us. Thank you for sharing about John and praying you get to spend time with him. Blessings!

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      I’m so guilty about not listening well. 🙁 I want to be more fully present when others are speaking to me, just like I appreciate when they bear witness to my words. Thanks for listening to my own words today, Joanne.

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      You make me wonder, Angie—How would Jesus would listen to us if he were here in the flesh? Full attention, eyes locked into ours, heart open…. Oh, to be that for each other!

  3. blankKellyRBaker

    This is a wonderful reminder of keeping your word when it doesn’t seem like people commit to keeping theirs much anymore. Beautifully written, Lisa. Words are powerful. I love how we can speak Gods Word and change circumstances and lives.

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      Thanks, Kelly. Yes, it is always refreshing to hear someone who keeps their word and values that as a trait. I know there are many people like that; I am grateful for them. And even more grateful that God keeps his word to us!

  4. blankMary Geisen

    Your encouragement is just what I needed today. We all have a word and I describe it as our story. It matters and your call to recognize the word in others is one that we can easily do if we take the time to notice. Thank you for your words pointing us to God and His people.

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      Thanks, Kristi. You’d think we’d get tired of words, we hear so many every day. ha. But no, they continue to be special if we’ll care about the person speaking them!

  5. blankDiana

    Beautiful post full of beautiful words! I’ll be the odd one, though, in that apparently everyone I know sees me as the one who will always listen. I hear their words… lots and LOTS of words over the years. God gave me an abundance of patience to do all this listening. But the One I go to, who I can always run to, who I know will always listen to me is God. He can hear the words of my heart before I ever utter them. (Visiting via Barbie’s Glimpses link-up.)

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      Thanks for being the odd one, Diana. We hear you! 🙂 Yes, some people do lean more toward listening while others lean more toward talking. I’m more of a listener as well. We find out some good things this way, yes? And we know God is always listening to us. I appreciate you sharing this perspective!

  6. blankCheryl

    Such beautiful encouragement, Lisa. I hope your friend gets to share his story before Jesus calls him home. So sad to think of him leaving…he sounds like a special person. Sending you wishes for a very Merry and blessed Christmas season!

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      Thank you, Cheryl. I, too, hope that John gets to share his word many more times before he goes home. Praying I’ll get to see him at least once more too. May you have a blessed Christmas also with family and friends!

  7. blankfloyd

    A beautiful and heart pulling post, Lisa. In the end that’s all that matters; to know and care for others the way of Savior has done and is doing for us.

    Most excellent and humbling reminder.

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      Thanks, Jean. I’m fitting it in with Advent…if we’re willing to be patient and wait, we are blessed to hear the words from others as they share from their hearts. You share yours beautifully, friend.

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      It’s been my pleasure to be on the receiving end of your messages, Ashley. 🙂 I enjoy “hearing” your words (and even more now that I’ve really heard your voice to go along with them!).

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      Slowing down…yes. That is one important step that we often fail to take! But when we live slower, we’re more likely to hear the words and be an attentive audience for the things God wants to share through other people to us. Thanks, Laura.

  8. blankLori Schumaker

    So many words and they matter! God gave us a story, words, and a connection through the two when they come together. As humans, our ears perk up when it’s a story. Our curiosity is piqued. Our compassion is widened. Our stories are powerful, for sure! Praying for John and for God to use his story way beyond his time here on Earth.Thanks so much, Lisa, for being such a blessing and for sharing at #MomentsofHope each week!
    Blessings and smiles,
    Lori

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      Thanks, Lori. I always enjoy hearing your stories. We have been hearing a different member’s story at church the past few weeks and it has been so encouraging to see what God is doing in people’s lives!

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