Guest Viewpoint: A $4 CD

A $4 thrift store purchase is affecting my life.

It’s not as life-changing as the name of Jesus, but it is nudging my soul in a positive direction.

This purchase — a beginner’s CD for learning Spanish — is teaching me more than an alphabet, basic grammar and Spanish words for everyday nouns and verbs.

One word in particular is energizing my venture into Spanish:

“Maravilloso” — the word for marvelous.

It’s fun to insert it into emails with Spanish-speaking friends whenever opportunity permits. It seems to spark a unique, albeit brief, reaction — something like, “Oh, you’re trying to learn my language.”

Art Toalston

Art Toalston

Think for a moment when you’ve spoken with someone from another culture who is trying to say something in English. Your heart goes out to the person. You try to find the right word. You likely smile together. You connect for a precious moment.

The same thing happens when we are the stammering ones trying to stretch our lives — even by a single word — into the context of one who speaks Spanish, Chinese, Russian or any of the world’s heart languages.

No doubt, the centrality of words precedes the advent of linguistics and communication theory. God, first and foremost, speaks. In His case, it’s through the words of Scripture, illuminated within our hearts by the Holy Spirit.

So in our everyday lives, I suggest buying a $4 CD to learn some Spanish if you see one in a thrift store. Better yet, I’ve learned of a Spanish-learning website and mobile app named Duolingo that’s free, has no ads, and even is a bit entertaining.

Then, from time to time, listen to the CD if your car, home computer or laptop has a CD player. Or take your first venture into Duolingo. Have the humble courage to say “maravilloso.”

And, certainly from an eternal perspective, learn God’s language in Scripture. One of the great connection points between God and humankind is in the New Testament book of Romans, chapter 10: “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart, that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming. That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved … for, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved'” (verses 8-10,13).

To hearts hungry for an eternal connection, these words — and all of God’s words across the pages of Scripture — are maravilloso indeed.

— Art Toalston is senior editor of Baptist Press, news service of the Southern Baptist Convention, and author of the ebooks “When I Meditate” and “Meditation & Morality,” with descriptors at For an earlier article on new birth, click here.