I recently read an article about a teacher who went to a funeral for one of her students. At the funeral, someone read a short story about what they found in this person’s wallet. It was an assignment that the teacher had given her students a long time ago where she had asked them to write something good about every student. The man who had died had carried this paper in his wallet all his life. After the service, some of this teacher’s students met for a meal, and while eating, many of them shared that they too still carried that assignment. This teacher was astonished that that simple act of saying something good about each student had meant so much to them.
When Abraham Lincoln was shot in 1865, his pockets contained eight newspaper clippings that praised him and his policies. Everyone needs encouragement! President Lincoln was a great leader but even great leaders need to hear “good” things. Students in school often worry about what others think of them, and they especially need to be encouraged.
Who do you know who needs encouragement? Everyone! There is not one person you know that is confident enough that they don’t need “encouragement.” We’re all one failure, snide comment, or bad hair day away from self-doubt. Romans 15:2 tells us to obey God’s command to “Please our neighbors for their good, to build them up.”
We all need to take a class with this teacher who told all her students to write something good about every student in the room. We’d all be carrying notes in our pockets when we die because these words would mean so much to us. If we’d all do this, we’d be more like Jesus, who “did not please himself” but lived for others. (Romans 15:3)
Romans 15:2 – Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up.