"Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones."1
Alexandra Kropotkin, in an article titled, "Homemade," described the death of her friend as follows: "One day a millionaire of my acquaintance, whose pride it was never to offer a tip for any service, faced an unforgettable tragedy. His chief accountant committed suicide. The books were found to be in perfect order; the affairs of the dead man, a modest bachelor, were prosperous and calm. The only letter left by the accountant was a brief note to his millionaire employer. It read: 'In 30 years I have never had one word of encouragement. I'm fed up."'2
It never ceases to amaze me that so many people don't bother to say thank you to the many people who help them or do something for them. I often hold a door open for someone who is following me into a store, the Post Office, or the bank, some of whom walk through without saying a word. Whenever I see our mailman, I always thank him and let him know how much I appreciate his service. I do this to lots of people.
And do we often say thank you and give a word of encouragement to our spouse, our children, our friends, our employer, and to our employees? If we all do this on a daily basis, we can make an impact on the world in which we live. Whether it is a kind word or a kind deed, in the words of Charles Dudley Warner, "It is one of the beautiful compensations of this life that no one can sincerely try to help another without helping himself."
In the Bible a man named Joseph was given the name of Barnabas because it means, "Son of Encouragement." Let's all be a Barnabas to someone today.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to be a Barnabas in some way today (and every day) to every life I touch. May I also be known as a son or daughter of encouragement. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. Proverbs 16:24 (NIV).
2. Stan Toler, God Has Never Failed Me, but He Sure Has Scared Me to Death a Few Times! (Tulsa: Honor Books, 1995). Cited on www.sermons.com.