Telling Time: To Speak or Not

“There is a time for everything . . . a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 7)

Do you know what time it is? Do you know what season you’re in right now? If not, it’s hard to know how to live wisely. That’s what we’re thinking about week as we read through the poem in Ecclesiastes 3.

emb_350Think back on the last time you hung out with your extended family or group of friends. How did you do with knowing when it was time to be silent and/or time to speak? I think that’s one of the hardest times to tell. It requires both the wisdom to know and the courage to act (or not).

Here is one guideline for making that choice: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (Ephesians 4:29)

If the words you have to say will not benefit or build up those who hear you, recognize the moment as one to be silent. But if you have words that will help or encourage, don’t waste your speaking season. It would be unkind not to say something.

Think: How often do you think about whether you should speak or not before you talk? How often do you think about whether you should have spoken after you talk? If you do think about it in the moment, how do you decide when to speak and what to say?

Pray: Ask God to give you the wisdom to know when to speak and when to stay silent.

Do: If you’re looking for verses to memorize, Ephesians 4:29 is a great one to plaster on the wall of your mind.