There are certain people who know just what to say at the perfect moment. Something needs desperately to be said and they are the ones who usually say it. Whether you know it or not, it is wisdom that gives them the ability to say these kinds of things.
Like apples of gold in settings of silver. Now there is something that is worth a little. You can imagine this artwork as not only being beautiful to the eye - but also of amazing wealth as well. It is the kind of thing one would hang on a wall as a decoration, but would also have listed as a very valuable asset too. This is equated to how very valuable a word spoken just at the right time is. This statement speaks of how appropriate words used just at the right moment in time can be invaluable to someone.
We see Jesus doing this again and again in His life. When attacked by the Pharisees and Saducees with a question they think is unanswerable without incrimination, Jesus speaks the perfect word at the perfect time. This kind of ability and skill is a wonderful thing to have when counselling or when offering comfort to those who are hurting or have just lost a loved one.
In order to be able to say these kinds of things we need to have an ear open in two directions. First, we need to have our ears open to God. He is the One who can give us the perfect thing to say - because He is the One who can see into every heart and know just what to say. Knowing and being able to communicate God's Word in one-on-one situations is such a blessing to those who receive it. But to know these kinds of statements, we must walk close to God. Second, we need to have our ears open to those around us. Far too many people are never able to speak these kinds of words, because they don't even know that others around them need to hear them. So preoccupied are they with their own trials and troubles - or honestly with their own desires - that they don't hear the hearts of those who are struggling and in desperate need of a word of encouragement and edification.
James encourages us to be quick to hear and slow to speak. That kind of wisdom will allow us to hear others - to hear their hurts and their problems - so that we can apply the Word of God in a way that brings healing and grace to them. It will be then that we can offer these apples of gold in settings of silver to those around us who desperately need to hear more than just words - they need to hear the right words - the perfect words for their circumstances.