Encourage Creatively

Everybody could use some well timed encouragement.  
John 13:35 says the whole world will know we are Christ's disciples, if we show love to one another.  Encouragement is a great way to show love!   

More often than not, we're accustomed to point out flaws, or make corrections.  We can often forget that just a little bit of encouragement can go a long way.

Story Time:
Back when I was single my roommate Mark and I, who also worked together, would take the same route to work.  Every day we'd stop at the same intersection and every day (school season) there was a middle aged to older female crossing guard sitting in a lawn chair.  

Mark and I took to passing the time spent at the stop light, imagining stories about her.  Every day the story was different.  Some days she was a super hero, and other days she was serving some sort of community service.  We took to waving at her each day, but she never waved back.  At first we thought it was because she didn't see us, so we would both wave vigorously.  Still no wave back.  

'Maybe she can't wave' we wondered, 'maybe it's some sort of professional thing like, when the crossing guard waves, traffic stops, so she has to be careful with her waves?'
Maybe she's super grumpy?

Day after day, she wouldn't wave, but we would wave at her.  Day after day we made up stories about how she wound up there, but always told with respect. (I kind of have this thing about respecting public servants).

After a month or so of this, we had the idea to encourage her.  So we got a few candies, some treats, and a greeting card.

"Dear Crossing Guard, we respect what you do, thank you for keeping our community children safe.  We think you are awesome! We hope you have a great day!  - Signed - the two guys in the truck who wave at you every day."

The next day, we came to the intersection armed with our paper bag of goodies, and I shouted "go go go go go" and Mark jumped out of the passenger seat, rushed over to the lady sitting at the stop light, handed her the bag, said something nice to her, and rushed back to the truck.

The light turned green and off we went.  We hoped it would encourage her.

The next day, when we got to the intersection, we looked over and she stood up, and gave us a big wave!  We waved back and laughed and smiled.  It was awesome.
She must have been waiting there for us, sifting through all the cars visually, waiting to see if we'd come that day.  We were greatly encouraged that she received our encouragement so well.

Every day after that she waved to us, and gave us a big smile.

We had made a human connection, with someone you pass on the street.  And it came because of this little idea that maybe she could use some encouragement.

It doesn't take much.  The smallest act of random kindness can start you on a path of adventure you never thought would happen to you.  If you think your life lacks adventure, then spice it up a little.  

In my line of work, I hear this a lot "your life must have so much adventure!  We live normal boring lives, but you… the things you must have seen!"

My response to that is, "my life was full of adventure before I ever left for PNG."   I was always looking for creative ways to encourage people.  I could tell you story after story of things we do to make people smile and laugh.

Go get you some adventure!  Encourage someone today.

(this blog sermon brought to you in lieu of a 'life in png' update since I'm currently in the U.S.)