Mark Driscoll’s new book Who Do You Think You Are? Finding your new identity in Christ looks like a series of sermons put into printed form but they’re engaging, often practical and refreshingly biblical. In one segment Driscoll describes a conference speaker who produced “an absolute buzz,” not because of his speaking but because of his encouraging words. He genuinely was interested in everyone he met, especially in those who served. He looked each person in the eye, sincerely thanked them, encouraged them for the difference they were making at the conference and expressed his appreciation. The man clearly was interested in the people he met. They, in turn, were touched and encouraged by his brief affirmations.
This story reminded me of people who practice random acts of kindness. An Internet search revealed a “Random Acts of Kindness Foundation” and website that encourage random acts of kindness in all of us including children. For years I’ve engaged people in what might be called random words of encouragement. I’d not thought much about this until Driscoll’s book appeared and a friend pointed out how much I do it. Undoubtedly this comes easier to people whose personalities make it easy to say something encouraging to friends or even strangers. Maybe this is one of those God-given gifts that equip some people to give encouragement innately (Rom. 12:8.)
But couldn’t we all give away random words of encouragement? Try thanking the bus-boy in a restaurant, the check-out cashier in a supermarket, the servers in your church, the janitor someplace. Start at home or where you work. Random words of encouragement can make a big difference, especially among people who rarely hear appreciation or affirmation. It gets easier when you do it. At times it leads to new, unexpected friendships and it can change the culture of your office. This is easily incorporated into coaching, counseling or leadership.
“Encourage…and build each other up” (1 Thes. 5:11.) “Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” (Eph. 4:29.) Maybe we should all pass on some random words of encouragement this week and suggest that others do the same. Let us know how it goes. Please leave a comment.