Monday, May 14, 2012

A word of encouragement - something that has been lost in our present day. Reflection on Hebrews 3:13 with a story from the life of Mercedes Ruehl.

SCRIPTURE: Hebrews 3:13 (NIV)
But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness.

STORY as told by Madeleine Blais:
Mercedes Ruehl, one of the few actresses to win a Tony and an Oscar in the same year (for Lost in Yonkers and The Fisher King), saw her first Broadway show when she was in grade school. Her family was in New York visiting relatives and driving through Times Square. On the spur of the moment her parents decided to see if they could get tickets to The Unsinkable Molly Brown.
"I remember waiting in the car," says Ruehl, "while my mother ran up to the box office. The only tickets left were for box seats. Box seats! To me there were no better seats, and I remember my father saying, sure, go for it. One of the best qualities of my parents was that they liked to have fun.
"As we watched the play, I could not take my eyes off its star, Tammy Grimes. She must have felt my adoration, because at one point she looked up and held my eyes. It was probably for no more than one second, but it seemed like ten seconds. I always felt that was my official invitation to be an actress. With her gaze I was touched like a knight on both shoulders with a sword."  
For some it is as simple as eye contact. For others words become important. And still others will take an unselfish act of a pat-on-the-back or some other gesture. Encouragement is needed more today than at any other time in our history. It seems like it is a lost art, but it has been lost in the business of our daily living.

I was asked just this past Friday evening what is wrong with our society. I didn’t have an answer then, but have been thinking about ever since. It dawned on my gray matter this morning that one thing we don’t hear a lot of today is praise … a word of encouragement … a few “atta-boy” … Criticism is cheap and plentiful. Too easily and quickly shared. Words of encouragement are simple. Doesn’t take much effort. Just a little encouragement, a gesture, a pat-on-the-back and the world seems friendlier. Life becomes more livable. Possibilities open up. And we carry on ... encouraged to do so.

To know that someone is watching; To know that we matter; To know that we are making a contribution; To know that what little we are doing for the Kingdom of God makes a difference to someone else; To hear a kind word in the midst of all the negative words that invade our hears; To realize that we are making a difference; To be embraced by the kindness of others … And then to have the ability to share it, to pass it on, to offer our own words of encouragement, to build each other up with praise and thanksgiving … now that is a ministry to others and for others … and for the Kingdom of God.

Help us to be sensitive to those around us, gracious God. Help us to be ready with a word of encouragement. Help us to build each other up with a strong word of praise. Amen.

QUOTE by William Arthur Ward:
Flatter me, and I may not believe you. Criticize me, and I may not like you. Ignore me, and I may not forgive you. Encourage me, and I will not forget you. 

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