(04.29.21 – Encouragement! – 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17)
My friend, may I ask you a question? Why is it always tempting to be critical when someone's best efforts fall short of goal and they really miss the mark.
My friend, Life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day.
I'm M. Clifford Brunner.
"I did my best, really!" With tear-streaked face and bit lip, the little boy looked up at his stern-faced father. In his hand he held the remnants of what was supposed to have been a box kite. The little boy thought he could do it. The directions seemed easy enough. All you needed was a scissors and some glue. Unfortunately, some of the paper had ripped and nothing was tight. The glue hadn’t dried properly and he had more of it stuck to his fingers than to the kite. It was obvious even to the little boy that what he held would probably never fly. That little boy was me decades ago. My dad had taken me to the 5 & 10 down- town and allowed me to buy a box kite. While all the other kids had simple kites, I was determined to have a box kite. I know that he had misgivings. But he had given in. He even chipped in 50¢ to seal the deal. Now I had not only wasted my 25¢, I had wasted his 50¢. I felt ashamed as I handed the wounded kite to my dad. Luckily dads could fix almost anything and it wasn't long before he and I were standing in the field behind our house with a shabby but marginally flightworthy box kite tugging limply from my hand-held line. It wasn’t the kite that was important any more however. That was my "best effort" on the end of that line and that was all that counted to me and my Dad.
My best effort wasn't perfect, but Dad's reaction was. It's tempting to be critical when someone's best efforts really miss the mark.
Here's a story: During quail season in Georgia, an Atlanta journalist met an old farmer hunting with an ancient pointer at his side. Twice the dog ran with pain ahead and pointed. Twice his master fired into the open air. When the journalist saw no birds rise, he asked the farmer for an explanation. "Shucks," grinned the old man, "I knew there weren't no birds in that grass. Spot's nose ain't what it used to be but him and me have had some wonderful times together. He's still doing the best he can – and it'd be mighty mean of me to call him a liar at this stage of the game!" (Bits & Pieces)
Sometimes, even when our best efforts don’t find the mark, a little encouragement can go a long way. When the Apostle Paul wrote to a little Christian congregation in Thessalonica he knew that they were trying hard but also missing the mark. They were having a difficult time understanding Paul's message of just what it meant to "wait on the Lord." Instead of being critical, Paul chose to encourage them. He knew their best efforts were at stake so he chose encouragement. My kite flew because my Dad affirmed my best efforts. Is there someone in your life today that could use some encouragement to get their dreams flying despite their falling short of the mark? Why not choose to help them make the best of a failed effort? Try a little praise instead of criticism. Perhaps there is still room for their dreams to fly if you're willing to stand by their side.
We pray. Heavenly Father, You choose to encourage us despite our sinful pride and nature, because You know our best efforts were at stake. So You chose encouragement. Whatever we do in this life Lord, we pray that it will always be our best effort. Forgive us when we don’t and bless us when we do. Show us the people in our lives today that could use some encouragement to get their dreams flying despite their falling short of the mark. Move us by Your Spirit to help them make the best of a failed effort. Give us the ability to praise instead of being critical. Perhaps there is still room for their dreams to fly if we’re willing to stand by their side. In Jesus name we pray. Amen!
Therefore my friend, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry for itself; each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matt 6:34) This Passing Day. May this passing day honor our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and be a blessing to you and everyone you meet. Find a stranger and say hello. Don't let another day pass without your day blessing someone else.
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<email@example.com> From Beech Springs, God bless you for Jesus sake.