A Word of Encouragement

Just a word of encouragement is a difference maker and can be a powerful thing in someone’s life. It seems as though some people just have a gift from God to be encouragers. I have met a few folks that seem to have the gift of discouragement, but I have known a lot more people who really are used of God to say a word or carry out an act that literally reshapes a person’s life. A God-given, positive word can make somebody’s day and well may shape their future.

One Sunday I was speaking at a church as just a fill-in preacher. After the service, I was so blessed by one little girl. She was a bright-eyed, precious, smiling five year old. She walked up to me, looked me in the eye, shook my hand and with the maturity of a 35 year old she said, “I like your singing.” Now for those of you who have never heard me sing, you do not have any appreciation for what this girl had heard. I was just singing with the congregation, and it was not a solo or anything in my sermon. She heard it and wanted to express encouragement to me about my singing. I asked her if she would tell me her name and she said, “Ansley.” I hugged her and said, “Ansley, I want to tell you that you are the first person who has ever told me that they liked my singing.”

I could not believe it. I thought this must be the most brilliant, sensitive, musically attuned child that had ever lived. She smiled and after we had talked a little more she went on her way, and I left the service that morning feeling good. I felt good not because of the sermon that I had preached but about blessing somebody with my musical talents. It was a ray of sunshine in my day. Later in the day as I was thinking about Ansley and her comment, I realized that when I told her that she was the only person who had ever told me that they liked my singing, that was not true.

I remembered a lady I had met at a nursing home where I was speaking one Sunday afternoon. When I went to the nursing home I thought that I was going to just bring a Sunday afternoon message to the group that was gathered, but it turned into more than that as nobody was there to lead the singing. So I stepped in to lead the singing and then to speak. We shared some moments together singing the great old hymns that they knew.

After the service was over, some of the precious people in that nursing home came by to speak to me. Some of them were on walkers, some in wheelchairs and there were others who were able to maneuver on their own. One lady came by and grabbed my hand with both of her hands and she said, “That was the prettiest singing I have heard in all of my life.” I responded, “Bless your heart. Thank you so much.” She shuffled on down the hall going to her room. The lady behind her was waiting for her to get out of earshot, and she walked up to me and said, “Do not pay any attention to her. She is crazier than a loon!” Well, I had already thought that if she liked my singing that she must have some deficiencies, but the second lady did not have to talk bad about her and did not have to ruin the other person’s compliment. However, I do understand when people do not have a deep appreciation for my singing.

And then there was Ansley, a precious, innocent, sweet and bright five year old, who wanted me to know that she liked my singing. I thought that the number was growing because now I was up to two that liked my singing. While I know that is not a stampede, it is two more than most folks would imagine, and I was thankful.

Now I am somewhat of a realist, and I know that there are a few things that I can do. There are other things that I try to do, and there are a number of things that I cannot do. So except for this multitude of two people, I am pretty much out of the singing business.

Here is the glorious thing. Virtually everybody can be an encourager. If they will, they can find some word and some way to touch somebody’s life, lift them up and bless them. No doubt you remember that disciple by the name of Joseph who came to the young, struggling church and gave a magnificent gift. From that time on until this day, everybody calls him by his new found descriptive name of Barnabas which meant and means the son of encouragement. While I seriously doubt that Barnabas would come to me after a service of any kind and say, “Jim, I sure do like your singing,” I do believe that Barnabas would come and say, “Jim, I do appreciate you serving the Lord and sharing His word.”

Find at least one person this week that has blessed you, and they may not even know it. Thank them and encourage them in the work that they are doing. I assure you that it will make a difference to them. In fact, it will make a difference in you. God bless you!

P.S.-If you do not like my singing, there are two things that I need to mention to you. The first is to just remember that you are in the majority. The second thing is because there are a large number of you who agree with that position, I do not need you calling, writing, texting or personally coming to tell me how you feel. Those needs to administer discouragement and those instructions to tell me to stop singing have all been fulfilled many times over. While I appreciate you, you are not needed in that regard any more. So if you feel led and even pushed of God to tell somebody that they cannot sing, feel free to share that with someone else. God bless you!

Jim Futral
Executive Director-Treasurer