A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver
Doesn't this conjure up a beautiful picture for you? Golden apples encased in silver settings. Beautiful. Valuable. Rare.
"A word fitly spoken". Notice it's not "a word spoken in a fit"! Rather, a word fitly spoken. A word that is appropriate in its message and delivery...and timing.
What's a "fit" message? One that meets the need of the moment...in TRUTH. One without assumption or presumption. TRUTH. It might be words of affirming praise or it might be difficult precepts but if it is TRUTH, it can still be valuable to the hearer. Not flattery, for that is a word spoken in order to send benefit back to the speaker. Nor is it true words misapplied. (Been there. Said that. Heard that, too. UGH) Instead, Truth appropriate for the moment. Apples of gold.
A word fit in delivery. Even if the message is truth, if we don't deliver it in love, it is not beautiful or valuable to the hearer. "Fitly spoken" includes the tone of voice, the words chosen, the facial expression (gulp), and the body language. Some studies indicate that up to 93 percent of communication effectiveness is determined by nonverbal cues. Delivery matters. Settings of silver.
As important as the message and the delivery is the timing. Oh how important is the timing! Too many times I have delivered the message of truth to one of my children....at the wrong time. There have probably been times I have delivered too late but mostly, I'm too early. Giving them what they need to hear when they are not prepared to hear it is counterproductive. Learning to wait until the time is right requires patience and self-control and wisdom.
But when the message is true, delivered with love, at the right time, oh what a treasure for the hearer! Words fitly spoken can shape a life. My husband will never forget an uncle's specific compliments about his public speaking abilities...from over 40 years ago. Little wonder that he chose a career that capitalizes on that talent. I can recall with delight apples of gold that were delivered to me in settings of silver...and some specific ones that kept me teaching...or parenting...or walking with Jesus. Even words from strangers.
A word fitly spoken....in message, in delivery, in timing...apples of gold in settings of silver. Let's plant some apple seeds today!