He was the team’s voice, its cheerleader. Whenever someone needed encouragement, he was their guy. Whenever things got quiet in the dugout, he picked up the volume. He always seemed to know the right thing to say at the right time to elevate everyone else around him.

But he wasn’t always that way. Before, he was just annoying, always talking without any real purpose.

One day, he came across Proverbs 27:14–“He who blesses his friend with a loud voice early in the morning, it will be reckoned a curse to him.”

When he first joined the team, he tried to put on a show, yelling for his teammates, never leaving them alone, simply saying something for the sake of saying something. They hated to see him coming their way. He was, as this verse says, just like someone shouting early in the morning to a non-morning person.

Over time, he learned three important principles.

Be sincere. He would tell you now that it’s pointless to say things you don’t mean, even nice things. Where once he had cheered for his teammates out of a sense of obligation, now he does so because he genuinely cares about them. His words of encouragement and greeting are now sincere. They know it.

Be sensitive. Just like the neighbor who doesn’t seem to care that his loud morning voice is annoying, teammates and coaches are sometimes like that. He learned over time that his words needed to come from a heart sensitive to each person and each moment. Now, he pays attention, learning each guy, and speaking only what is helpful.

Be silent. At first, he thought silence was a bad thing. Now, he knows it might be exactly what someone else needs. Sometimes, he just says nothing. He’s just there. His teammates love him for it.

Lord Jesus, open my eyes to the needs around me. Help me not to just make noise with my words, but to use them to show your love to my team. Amen.