I recently pulled out a folder, the bland coloured manila one labelled encouragement.
Tightly squeezed between others sporting more impressive titles, ranging from agriculture to strategic planning, this one is accessed less frequently. It's the first to come to mind, however, when challenges seem overwhelming.
It's been decades since I slipped that first letter into File E, but I felt the need to go back and read. I wasn't disappointed. Notes from our granddaughters, written over nearly 20 years, brought back beautiful memories. A birthday card from Mom helped fill the void I still feel knowing that she's no longer here.
There were numerous thank you cards from folks or events that I'd virtually forgotten, but nothing quite compared to a hand-drawn Christmas card from "Papa Crandall" – my unofficial foster dad. It read: "If we had been blessed with a daughter, it would be my wish that she would be just like you."
Couldn't keep dry eyes after reading that one.
Larry Crabb, psychologist, author, Bible teacher and seminar speaker, said this: “Encouragement is not the responsibility of the gifted few, it is the privilege of every believer.”
The value of encouraging someone else cannot be overestimated; if you doubt that just walk through the aisles of your local grocery or retail store, counting as you go the number of smile-less faces. As so many have so eloquently stated, we don't know the pain or burdens borne by those we meet.
Be it a smile, a hand-written note (remember those?), lunch together or the gift of a helping hand, your kindness will be filed under E in someone's heart.
"Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ." Galatians 6:2 (NKJV)
Here's this week's challenge: who can I encourage and bless? In what ways? Remember, it's our privilege!