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Encourage vs. Impress


The power of an encouraging word is remarkable. Proverbs 25:11 (The Message) says, “The right word at the right time is like a custom-made piece of jewelry.”


I have experienced the power of encouraging words spoken at the right time. After teaching Bible study for a decade, I wondered if what I was doing still mattered; that’s when a newcomer shared how much the teaching had changed her life. She shared how she found her way back to a life-giving relationship with Christ through our Bible study.


Those words kept me excited about teaching and changed my priorities. The timing was impeccable.


Unfortunately, sometimes instead of encouraging others, I want to impress them, and that’s when I lose track of what matters. Our most important mission on earth is to bring The Good News that is life-giving and full of hope.


I ran across these questions from Charles Schulz, the creator of the comic strip Charlie Brown on this very subject. Take a few moments to ponder them for yourself.


  1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.

  2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.

  3. Name the last half-dozen Academy Award winners for best actor and actress.

  4. How did you do?

Now here are a few more questions.

  1. Name three people who helped you through a difficult time and remained loyal friends.

  2. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.

  3. Think of a few people who believed in you and made you feel appreciated.


The people in the first list are impressive, but it’s the second list of people whose encouragement changed your life. So, let’s start living a life of encouragement today by sharing affirming words wherever we go.

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