PATHWAY TO HIS PRESENCE
When I was around eight, my maternal grandmother told me a story about the importance of talking nicely. She said when we talk ugly, frogs come out of our mouths, but when we talk with love and kindness, pearls come out.
The same mouth can either hurt people or show them love. What she said made a great impression on my young life. With her words, she painted a clear picture. I visualized those frogs, and I wanted no part of them! The thought, however, of pearls coming out of my mouth sounded much better.
I only saw Mama Newton when my family drove to Live Oak, Florida to my grandparents’ large two-story home. I rocked in huge rocking chairs on their wrap-around front porch, studied the lovely stained glass window at the curve of the oak stairway, and played in all of the upstairs bedrooms. One of the best memories I have of her, however, is the lesson of the frog. She made a believer out of me!
Other than the frog and pearl story, one other memory stands out. She did not have a driver’s license, but when she learned of a friend with cancer, she walked all the way across town to pray for her. Her friend recovered. This left a strong impression on my life.
From her I gained two valuable lessons: when we feel led to pray for a person, we must pray, even if we have to walk a ways to get there. When we speak to others, pearls are better than frogs.
The book of James puts these two teachings in perspective. James 5:16 reads, “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” James even has a pearl and frog story when he speaks of the power of the tongue. “Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing….this should not be.”
The next time God impresses you to pray for someone, do it. The next time you start to speak critically or hastily, think “pearls.”
The Rev. B.J. Funk is associate pastor of Central UMC in Fitzgerald. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.