Words matter – a lot. They are so powerful that the Bible even teaches, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Proverbs 18:21a, NKJV). I think words matter even more when they’re spoken by a leader. Think about it. You can probably remember comments that someone in a leadership role has spoken to you, good or bad, even if they were spoken long ago. That’s why as leaders, we must be careful to use our tongue wisely. Indeed, the mouth of a leader speaks words that matter.
Words are some of the most powerful tools a leader has at his or her disposal. They can set the course of direction for their own lives and those of others. This is demonstrated in the Bible’s account of Samuel, a prophet to the nation of Israel. A prophet is someone who shares messages from the Lord to other people. Samuel was a leader, and the Bible describes how “the LORD was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground” (1 Samuel 3:19). What exactly does it mean to have none of your words fall to the ground?
To understand, let’s consider how Samuel became a prophet. As a young boy, Samuel learned to hear the voice of God one night while lying in bed in the temple where he served the priest, Eli. Samuel heard someone calling him, and he first thought it was Eli. He eventually learned he was hearing the voice of God, and he answered, “Speak, LORD, for your servant hears” (1 Samuel 3:10).
God gave him a message for Eli, and Samuel shared the word with the priest though he was afraid. From that moment on, God established him as a prophet for all of Israel. The Bible says, “For the LORD revealed Himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the word of the LORD. And the word of Samuel came to all Israel” (1 Samuel 3:21-4:1).
You see, there was a pattern to Samuel’s ministry. God would reveal Himself to Samuel by His word, then Samuel would share that word with all of Israel. That’s why none of his words “fell to the ground.” They were not his words alone; they were words from God.
In the same way, if we want our words to have power, we should do our best to speak as the Lord would want us to speak. God said, “As the rain and snow come down from the heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, … so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11, NIV).
In short, God’s words are not meaningless; they have a big impact. And your words can have a big impact too! I believe that when you speak, God will cause people to listen. He will cause your words to mean something to other people. God will let none of your words fall to the ground.
But we must understand that if we want our words to matter, we must also live with accountability. We must not be loose with our lips or careless in our conversations. We should speak words that lift others up, not weigh them down. We should bless others, not curse them.
Remember, your tongue is a powerful tool that can bring death or life. Know that your words matter to someone else, and they will remember the words you speak. Speak wisely!
Leadership Lesson: Leaders understand that their words matter to other people.