It was 1974 and I was 16. Mesmerized, I stared at the church organ dangling fifteen feet above the sanctuary floor. The church was the Danby Federated Church, seven miles south of Ithaca, NY—built in 1813.
My dad, Pastor Jimmy Miller, had spearheaded a drive to raise funds to refurbish the historic building, restoring it to its 19th century glory.
Part of the project was the reopening of the original choir loft at the rear of the church. It had been closed decades earlier to be used for Sunday school classes.
Several men had rigged a chain and pulley system to hoist the organ from the floor to the loft. I remember how amazing it was to see the massive instrument floating in air!
As the team took a quick breather, a small door at the front of the church opened halfway and a lady named Rhoda who’d been part of the church since dirt peered out. My father, always Mr. Enthusiasm and totally excited over what was taking place, exclaimed, “Rhoda, look! The organ is going back where it belongs—up in the choir loft!”
The old gal—she had to have been 105—studied it all for a moment. Then, as if her life purpose was to discourage people, she flatly stated three words I’ve never forgotten:
“Don’t drop it.”
The door closed and Rhoda was gone, but her impact remained. Looking back almost forty years, I can say she definitely “killed the moment.”
Happens. All. The. Time.
Last week I bumped into a friend I had not seen for almost a year. When I, as humbly as humanly possible, mentioned I’ve lost 43 pounds in eleven months, he did not respond with, “Congrats!” “Super job!” “Way to go!” or “Outstanding!”
Instead, he said …
“Looks like you need to eat something.”
Is he a bad guy? No, he’s a good guy—but that just proves this point:
It takes some real discipline to be an Encourager.
It seems to be human nature to be a Discourager. Not sure why. Maybe we think we’re helping. Maybe it was the way we were parented. Maybe we don’t like ourselves much. It doesn’t matter, I guess. What matters is how much more fun it is and how much more value we can contribute to the people around us by speaking positive words of encouragement.
But it takes practice … and practice … and some more practice to be an Encourager.
So I better start today with this promise:
Accepting the truth that I am personally accountable for everything I utter, I promise to choose uplifting words that leave the hearer of those words feeling good—maybe even better than before our moment together. And there will be nothing wrong with that.
Share a time when someone encouraged you with just the right words.
Who do you need to encourage today and what will you say?
Post your thoughts below!