Have you noticed how work and words are intimately connected? For many roles, words are like the oil that enables functionality; teams must communicate to operate; words contain information, instructions, warnings and encouragements; words are the vehicles of relationship and deepen or destroy healthy dynamics; questions are the tools of diagnosis and answers, the energy for progress.
Words flow in written, spoken, recorded and transmitted formats, and without them work would not exist. Given their power, then, a wise worker will learn, not just to use words, for anyone can do that, but to make them serve higher purposes. Learning to handle words has to be one of the greatest challenges for all workers, whether your work is manual, solitary or gregarious.
WORKTALK is literally about the ‘talk’ that came from Jesus of Nazareth while he was at work on the Cross; during the six hours he spoke seven sentences, all of which give you profound insight and perfect modelling for your work. However,there is learning to be had from the overall story as well as the content of the sentences; what can the six hour event show you about the handling of words themselves?
Firstly there was a dynamic between voices and silence; seven sentences may have taken thirty five seconds to speak; spoken really slowly, maybe forty-five seconds to a minute; that leaves 359 minutes of silence. Something else was going on in between the words. We are not party to whether there was much spoken to him during this time – we only have a few sentences recorded – but it is clear that he did most of this work without speaking. It is also impossible to fathom all that he was doing during these hours but it is possible to be clear that he knew how to be silent; he also knew when to be silent, and he knew how to achieve while silent. Someone once said it takes a great command of language to say nothing.
So the question emerges, do you know how to be silent? It is not just the absence of words, but the presence of power to achieve, that emerges in the silence. Secondly, of course, do you know when to be silent? Jesus clearly knew when to speak out and when to be silent. For the thief next to him the silence involved listening; for His mother and John the silence involved watching; for his Father and God the silence involved trusting; for His enemies the silence involved battling and for us all the silence involved rescuing; for him the silenceinvolved achieving his life’s work.
The other side of the coin and the second set of words for you involves the speaking out. Each sentence had a timing to it; the words were timed to respond to the context or pre-empt an issue. But each phrase had its moment: when all were offending, he spoke words of forgiveness; when a man was hopeless he spoke hope; when his mother and friend were desolate he gave them to each other in words of comfort; when in agony He shouted out, and when completion was achieved, he reported. Each sentence had its time and unique moment.
So you might like to reflect on the timing of your words; learning to speak is also about learning to time.
My third set of words for you surrounds observing that the words he spoke came from, and went to, eternity. He freely quoted from the eternal word of God; he freely prayed to his eternal Father; he freely expressed his own eternal soul.
Please don’t underestimate words; they last forever. When you quote your God and then pray to your God you connect yourself to the corridors of eternity. Learning to harness words is about capturing the voice of God and delivering the work of humanity. Speak well, stay silent well, and work well.
49For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it. 50I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.”
Ecclesiastes 3:1 &7
1 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
7 a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak
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