I had just settled into my seat when I heard the pastor say, “I see that Florence Littauer is with us this morning.” I was scheduled to speak for the women of the church later that evening and had slipped into the sanctuary for the Sunday morning service. As I started to stand acknowledging the introduction I heard him continue, “Let’s have her share our children’s sermon.” I was stunned. I had never given a children’s sermon before.
As I made my way to the front of the church I asked the Lord for a scripture and Ephesians4:29 popped into my mind. “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” (KJV) I was running out of time. This would have to do.
I gathered the children around me and began to teach. I spoke to the children about how our words needed to be kind and loving, building up those around us. As I finished one little girl stood up, turned to the congregation and said, “What she means is, our words should be like a little silver box with a bow on top.” I knew this message was a keeper.
I have shared the story of this message of “Silver Boxes” hundreds of times with thousands of people reminding them of the weight of our words. Often following my presentation someone will come to me and remark, “The words I say to my husband, to my children, to others, are not very nice. I need to do some things differently.” This message has changed lives, saved marriages and encouraged many a wayward young person.
We all have a story to share, a message to impart. Often it is a story that can reach deep into a broken heart to offer hope. Sometimes a story will point a person in the right direction or redirect their thinking.
Writers and speakers need encouragement as well. They need to hear that they are on the right path and that their words matter. My “Silver Box” story ends with a quote attributed to Oliver Wendell Holmes, “Don’t die with the music still in you.” We can change it slightly, and encourage you, “Don’t die with the story still in you.” Our stories can shape the future if we have the courage to share them.
Florence Littauer is the bestselling author of Silver Boxes, The Gift of Encouragement and over 30 other books. An internationally recognized speaker, she is the founder of the CLASSEMINARS and resides in Henderson, Nevada.
Gerry Wakeland is the President of CLASSEMINARS, Inc., a ministry that trains Christian communicators. She loves encouraging men and women to share the message God has given them. The mother of two grown daughters and grandmother of three active boys, Gerry lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Come meet Gerry and the rest of the CLASS faculty there!