a right word at the right time {part one}

“Therefore Jesus told them, ‘The right time for me has not yet come; for you any time is right. The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that what it does is evil. You go to the Feast. I am not yet going up to the Feast, because for me to right time has not yet come.’ Having said this, he stayed in Galilee. –John 7:6-9


Sometimes we need to stay in Galilee a while longer. The Feast in Jerusalem will have to wait because those in attendance are not yet ready to hear the truth. Right words spoken at the wrong time do little to further the kingdom cause; instead, right words spoken at the wrong time often stir the pot of dissension, fueling the anger of the crowd and bringing untimely harm to the truth and the truth-giver.


Not that we shy away from speaking the truth for fear of personal harm, but rather we keep to the shadows until the threats no longer thwart the truth. Truth needs a readied stage, a readied audience. The beginning days of the Feast, when frolic and frenzy often reign over reason, rarely provide a readied audience. Sometimes, it’s best to wait for the frenzy to die down instead of prematurely jumping into the fray with right words that, more than likely, will be trampled upon by the wrong motives and wounded pride of those attending the Feast.


Jesus wasn’t afraid to die for speaking the truth, for being the Truth; it’s what he came to do . . . to free us from the lies of the enemy. But Jesus knew the right time to speak his right words. He wasn’t swayed by a human agenda that operated out of wrong motives. Instead, he waited . . . walked his Father’s agenda, and when the time was right, he emerged from the shadows and spoke his piece.


Eternity holds the witness of what Jesus’ waiting to go to the Feast accomplished for the kingdom. We cannot see the fullness of it just yet. This wasn’t the climax of Christ’s ministry, the biggest accomplishment of his earthly tenure, but it’s worth our time, our pausing a little bit with Jesus in the shadows in order that we might gain understanding regarding a right word spoken at the right time.


In this season, we’re being pushed from every angle to enter the fray and to engage in the frolic of a Feast that has little to do with truth and much more to do with pride. Right words have never been more important. But I’m wondering if just maybe we could learn something from Jesus about timing . . . about when to show up at the Feast and when is the right time to speak those right words.


We need to make the most of them . . . our right words. We need to make them count. Some would say there are no right words, only opinions. They would be wrong; there are right words, and when they are released in the light and moment of God’s timing, they grow his kingdom, not frustrate it.


Right words and the right time to speak those words.


I think I’ll pause with Jesus in Galilee today and travel in his shadow. Words not yet spoken that tarry beneath and within the shade of God’s holiness are words that will eventually carry the strength and witness of eternity. Those are the kinds of words worth waiting for, friends. They change the landscape of the world around us and bring the kingdom of God within reach.


Wait for them, right words and right timing. The world has never needed them more. As always . . .


Peace for the journey,

What is your tendency . . . to jump into the fray with right words too soon or to wait on right timing? What benefit might there be to waiting?

16 Responses to a right word at the right time {part one}

  1. I agree. Yet, personally, I often have to fight “fear” as my motivation for staying quiet. I’ve wrestled with this latest flap and feel that I must be mindful to let Love and Truth be my guide. But it’s a scary place these days. I don’t want to hide out but I also don’t want to speak too soon or out of season. Lord, help us. Help us all.
    I appreciate your wisdom.

    • I’m quick to jump in, even did so yesterday at a blog and was immediately hit hard. I’ve really been stepping back and taking time to think about everything before speaking. I don’t want to keep quiet out of fear of rejection by others, but I also don’t want to judge too harshly and turn people away from Christ because of my great need to be heard. I just really liked this reading from Scripture today.


  2. I usually wait before speaking. I’ve had my moments, though, when I’ve spoken too soon. Not pleasant….not pleasant at all!

    • I’m learning a lot. I’ve been humbled far too many times not to take notice and to walk differently. Thanks for always being so kind, Beth, and for loving me right where I’m at!

  3. I am definitely in the camp of waiting prayerfully before speaking. I’ve been called uncourageous for that before, and I’m sure sometimes fear holds me back. But much of the time, (and I hope I’m completely honest when I say this) I wait because God’s discernment tells me to. A post I’ve been waiting for someone to write, and one I couldn’t since I’m still on break, so I’m incredibly grateful to you, Elaine. You’ve spoken the right word at the right time.

    • There have been many times, LauraLee, when I’ve forged ahead of that “check in my spirit” and later regretted doing so. I’m learning to pay attention to that check and to step away from the fray and evaluate before speaking. I remember my father telling me when I was younger that I needn’t speak every thought on my mind.

      My heavenly Father requires the same.

  4. I’ve always been too quick to jump in with words. One of the things my husband has taught me is to keep my mouth closed. I’ve always been one to offer my opinion…even when it is not invited. My tendancy to be a voice has often over-ridden my better judgment. Hopefully, those habits are receding as I walk closer to Jesus.

  5. wifeforthejourney:

    Words come easily; its love, timing, wisdom and grace that are often in short supply. I still catch myself being more eager to speak than to listen. Paul’s words to Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:14-18 includes Paul’s council to avoid “quarling about words [because it only produces division in the church]” is sound advice. There should always be room for conversation in relationships but we’re not likely to argue anyone into the Kingdom.

    Thanks for your timely insight! Love you,


  6. I am waiting with Jesus, and you, Elaine. Lots of “meat” here to digest, but I wanted you to know I was here. I will come back later when I can read your rich words….I love the lion photo. You are in my prayers as always. Lori

    • I thought a long time about that lion photo; wasn’t sure what I wanted, but I really liked the aspect of waiting with Jesus, and this one seemed to fit the theme here. Good to see your smiling face.

  7. Elaine, as I read your post today, two quotes came to mind. The first from scripture in Proverbs 25:11…”A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.” The right word at the right time can do a lot of good. But at the same time, the right word at the wrong time can do a lot of damage.
    The other is a quote from Benjamin Franklin, “A man convinced against his will, is of the same opinion still.” Unless a person wants to hear us, they won’t. Period.

    I’m convinced you are right on with your post today. There is a need for more thought before speaking. And I’m not so good at that! I’m trying to get better though. I think that I may be getting better with it as I get older. At least I hope so! Benny still says that I am “too wordy” much of the time though! ha

    Love you much my faithful friend Elaine!

    Marilyn…in Mississippi

  8. There is a time to speak and a time to be silent. You have beautifully said it in your post. There are indeed right words to speak, but they have to be combined with the right time to say it – you are so right in saying that.

    Jesus always waited for the fullness of time before saying or doing anything.

    Proverbs tell us that “where words are many sin is not absent.” A reminder that the untimely releasing of words will cause us to sin.

    Such a depth of insight here, dear Elaine. A perfect post as your elections come near and people are… well, talking!

    Have you read Nouwen’s wonderful book, The Way of the Heart? Wonderful book. If you haven’t read it yet, I suggest you do.


  9. It is as if the “don’t ask, don’t tell” slogan has become applicable to every difficult situation that we face. We’re afraid to take a stand for fear of offending someone or for fear of being attacked. When is the right time to say something? People become so convicted and passionate about their beliefs that they do not hear what is being said–by themselves or by others. As for me, I can only go by what is in the Bible. Yes, it was written thousands of years ago and there may be some “ways” that were influenced by the time BUT this does NOT invalidate the Bible. In my opinion, satan’s win comes when Christians loudly divide in very public forums. If Christians openly debate and deny the validity of the Bible in public forums, what are the unsaved supposed to believe? There are so many difficult questions that do not have answers. In the end, I believe I must be accepting of all God’s children–even when I disagree with their actions; however, acceptance does not equal approval. I can love the sinner without loving the sin. Note: As I re-read what I’ve written, it appears that I am so sure of myself. Yet, that is far from true. It is very difficult to know what to say, when to say it, and how to say it so that beliefs are shared in a caring manner that does not offend others. Yet, saying nothing can be just as bad.

  10. I often pray and ask the Lord when to speak and when to be silent. I must do this in my own home with loved ones. There is a time to speak and there is a time to be silent. I want to be guided by the Holy Spirit when I speak out.

    Blessings and love,

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