Instructive Words

bird-worm-2_2141752i“Apply your heart to instruction and your ears to words of knowledge,” Proverb 23:12.


This morning I enjoyed watching robins searching our lush green grass for their breakfast. The bigger bird found a fat, juicy worm, pulled it out of the ground, and gave it to his mate. She, in turn, flew to her nest where, I suspect, her little ones were awaiting the meal.

In the past few months I’ve served on the faculty of several writers conferences, led workshops, taken lots of one-on-one appointments, and critiqued articles, book proposals, and blog ideas. I especially enjoyed meeting writers who apply their heart to instruction and want to gain all the knowledge they can—they are the most fruitful writers I meet and work with.

They’re like hungry birds, gobbling up every little worm of knowledge they can. It’s a joy to have them in my workshops. It’s inspiring to mentor them. It’s a pleasure to critique their work. It’s an honor to pass on any little bit of knowledge I can. I enjoy serving these new and seasoned writers, and I love connecting with the passion they have to touch the lives of others with God’s truth. As an added bonus, I always learn something from them, too.

But there are also those who think they know it all, who have a chip on their shoulder or an ax to grind, and their words reek with haughtiness, bitterness, or ignorance. One such writer came to one of my workshops and then cornered me at lunch. Later we had a critique time, and her writing was anything but knowledgeable, edifying, or biblical. She had gone through a divorce, and she was determined to let the whole world know that men were scum and that she had been mistreated. And to top it off, she seemed to be unteachable and was going to self-publish her work!

I gave her some pretty strong warnings about finding healing before she proceeded with publishing her venom. I cautioned her to be a life-giver not a life-taker with her writing. I prayed with her and felt her stiffen at my prayer. But then, a few weeks later, I got an email from her that revealed how God had used our meeting to reveal some things and to change her heart. She had bowed her knee, applied her heart to instruction, and bent her ears to words of knowledge.

It was a beautiful thing.

So as you journey through this life, listen when someone shares instruction or wisdom with you. You’re never too old, too wise, too polished or too popular to grow. I sure need—and welcome—the wisdom of others. How about you?

When have you been challenged to apply your heart to instruction and your ears to words of knowledge? I’d love to know!



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