As you enter the house of God, keep your ears open and your mouth shut! Don't be a fool who doesn't realize that mindless offerings to God are evil. And don't make rash promises to God, for he is in heaven, and you are only here on earth. So let your words be few. (Ecclesiastes 5:1-2)

They are everywhere.

We text message them. We instant message them. We speak them. We're bombarded with them in ads. We email them. We read them in books. We see them on signs. They cover the newspaper. They fill the Internet. We speak and hear them on mobile phones. We listen to them on the radio. They scroll across our TV screens. We hear, speak, and sing them at church. We study them in contracts. We cherish them when a loved one speaks them. We argue with them. We shout them at sporting events. We read them in the Bible. We hear them over the loudspeakers. We ...

Words are everywhere. We are flooded with them. Unfortunately, many of us feel like we have to contribute to their overabundance and don't do a very good job of keeping out mouths shut and our ears open.

The Lord's concern for all of us is that we choose our words carefully.
As a preacher, teacher, and writer, I have to admit that the passage quoted above from  Ecclesiastes 5 is a sobering challenge. It's kind of like the old saying, "I'd rather see a sermon than hear one any day." However I — and those like me — must realize that we will be held accountable for our words and their influence even more strictly than those who are not in those positions. (James 3:1) The goal of our words is not about the number of words we use, but the godliness these words inspire and their source being rooted in the will and words of God. (1 Peter 4:11)

However, the Lord's concern for all of us is that we choose our words carefully, (Matthew 12:36) use them truthfully, (Matthew 5:37) and honor him with both our words and our obedience. (Matthew 15:8) Words of praise are to be said in some circumstances, but they must always be backed up with actions in our lives. (Matthew 7:21) Words of loyalty must be more than something to say among the godly; we must be willing to say them in hostile situations as well. (Luke 9:26)

Yet more than saying words, God wants us to take time to be silent and listen. (James 1:19) Religious words are plentiful enough, but spiritual lives and humble hearts are in short supply. So in a world with so many words, let's make a commitment to be better listeners, learners, and "livers" - people who hear God's words, learn from those words, and put those words to work in our lives.