"And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching."1
In his book, Homemade, Dr. Ernest Mellor shares: "Recently my wife and I sat charmed at an outdoor performance by young Suzuki violin students. After the concert, an instructor spoke briefly on how children as young as two, three and four years old are taught to play violin. The first thing the children learn, he said, is a proper stance. And the second thing the children learn—even before they pick up the violin—is how to take a bow. 'If the children just play the violin and stop, people may forget to show their appreciation,' the instructor said. 'But when the children bow, the audience invariably applauds. And applause is the best motivator we've found to make children feel good about performing and want to do it well.'"
Being affirmed and appreciated is not only important for children, it is for adults too. When genuinely expressed, it is a great source of encouragement and motivation.
This is especially important in families … for one's spouse, children, and siblings. My wife and I continually express love and appreciation for each other. The other day I genuinely told Joy that she is the type of person who makes the world a better place in which to live. I meant it with all my heart … her whole being lit up.
And let's not forget single adults too … many are lonely … especially the elderly, the widowed, those who have never married, and the divorced … some of whom are struggling to bring up children alone. In fact get into the habit of thanking everybody who does anything for you … the mail man, the lady at the checkout counter in the supermarket … the mechanic who fixes your car … etc., etc.
Years ago when I was fresh out of college and speaking to a young adults' group, one of the members came to me afterwards and said, "Thank you for being God's messenger to me today." It so impacted my life I've never forgotten it.
You and I can be that kind of person to others and make a great impact on their life, too, and therein help make the world a better place in which to live.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please give me a loving, thankful heart, and help me to be as Christ in some way to every life I touch today by being thoughtful, kind, loving, appreciative and affirming. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."