Take a minute and look around you. Look close at the faces of people and see in their eyes the desperate longing for understanding and their cry for a few words of encouragement. If nothing else, just a look, a pat on the back or a smile can make the greatest difference in their day.

 

We are such self-centered creatures that from the moment we wake up until the moment we lay our head back on the pillow, we are consumed with ourselves. We think about our sorrow our sorrow, our concern and our need for understanding and affirmation.

 

But what does the Bible say about this? “Give, and it shall be given unto you” (Luke 6:38).

 

Are you one looking for encouragement and appreciation? Then I have a suggestion for you: Encourage someone around you. Give to them what you are looking to receive, and you will be surprised how it will return back to you a hundredfold.

 

Listen to the words of Christ, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you” (Matthew 7:12, NIV).

 

William Barclay once said, “One of the highest of human duties is the duty of encouragement. ... It is easy to laugh at man’s ideals. It is easy to pour cold water on the enthusiasm. It is easy to discourage others. The world is full of discouragers. We have a Christian duty to encourage one another. Many a time a word of praise or thanks or appreciation or cheer has kept a man on his feet. Blessed is the man who speaks such a word.”2 How true this is.


While reading through the well-known and loved book Chicken Soup for the Soul, I came across this story, which again shows the significant impact a little encouragement can have on the people in our lives.

A college professor had his sociology class go into the Baltimore slums to get case histories of 200 young boys. They were asked to write an evaluation of each boy’s future. In every case the students wrote, “He hasn’t got a chance.” Twenty-five years later another sociology professor came across the earlier study. He had his students follow up on the project to see what had happened to these boys. With the exception of 20 boys who had moved away or died, the students learned that 176 of the remaining 180 had achieved more than ordinary success as lawyers, doctors and businessmen.

The professor was astounded and decided to pursue the matter further. Fortunately, all the men were in the area and he was able to ask each one, “How do you account for your success?” In each case the reply came with feeling, “There was a teacher.”


The teacher was still alive, so he sought her out and asked the old but still alert lady what magic formula she had used to pull these boys out of the 41 slums into successful achievement.


The teacher’s eyes sparkled and her lips broke into a gentle smile. “It’s really simple,” she said. “I loved those boys.”3