Over the last two weeks of school, I have been focusing on the topic of encouragement and challenging us to be more encouraging. I have highlighted how important encouragement is in the life of individuals and the community as a whole. We have seen that it can help people persevere, face tough challenges and trials, and make a difference in people’s day, week, month, and/or lives.
The amazing thing about encouragement is that it has a ripple effect.
The amazing thing about encouragement is that it has a ripple effect. If people start to encourage each other, it spreads and then other people start encouraging each other. Not only does it spread and bring hope and joy to those in the community, it also has a direct benefit to the encourager.
In his book Winning with People, John Maxwell tells the following story from Dan Clark’s life that I believe illustrates the reciprocal effect that encouragement has on people:
Dan Clark recalls that when he was a teenager, he and his father once stood in line to buy tickets for the circus. As they waited, they noticed the family immediately in front of them. The parents were holding hands, and they had eight children in tow, all behaved well and all probably under the age of twelve. Based on their clean but simple clothing, he suspected they didn’t have a lot of money. The kids jabbered about the exciting things they expected to see, and he could tell that the circus was going to be a new adventure for them.
As the couple approached the counter, the attendant asked how many tickets they wanted. The man proudly responded, “Please let me buy eight children’s tickets and two adult tickets so I can take my family to the circus.”
When the attendant quoted the price, the man’s wife let go of his hand, and her head drooped. The man leaned a little closer and asked, “How much did you say?” The attendant again quoted the price. The man obviously didn’t have enough money. He looked crushed.
Clark said his father watched all of this, put his hand in his pocket, pulled out a twenty-dollar bill, and dropped it on the ground. His father then reached down, picked up the bill, tapped the man on the shoulder, and said, “Excuse me, sir, this fell out of your pocket.”
The man knew exactly what was going on. He looked straight into Clark’s father’s eyes, took his hand, shook it, and with a tear streaming down his check, replied, “Thank you, thank you, sir. This really means a lot to me and my family.”
Clark and his father went back to their car and drove home. They didn’t have enough money to go to the circus that night, but it didn’t matter. They had encouraged a whole family. And it was something neither family would ever forget.
God has created us in such a way that when we encourage other people, we ourselves are encouraged. You can’t help it, it is not why you do it, but what a person gets back from encouraging others is encouragement. What a wonderful gift it can be.
Enjoy giving and receiving the gift called encouragement.