Before he said a word , we knew. The night hadn’t gone as well as he had hoped. He walked in the front door just looking a bit down. Not as much “pep in his step” as I’d come to expect after a performance. My first thoughts were that he’d forgotten lines or the lighting or sound was bad. Had he tripped on stage or done something else embarrassing? So instead of assuming, we just asked…
“How was the show tonight, buddy?”
His response was one word…”Meh”. Now that word wasn’t a word when I was his age but it’s a word that , I guess, texting, Twitter or Facebook has made acceptable to use when things are just “so-so”.
So our next question was “What made it so “meh”?”
And his response was one that sorta took me by surprise. “The audience was just dead!” I don’t think there were zombies in the audience! Though this group of young actors might have had more fun with that! This audience was just totally unresponsive. No laughter when lines were funny. No clapping when clapping was due. This particular audience just gave absolutely no encouragement at all.
A little encouragement given at the right time can change so much. Just 24 hours earlier, this cast , having performed the same show, had a great encouraging audience. Laughter and clapping abounded and this group of actors knew they were doing something well.
“Now go out and encourage your men. I swear by the Lord that if you don’t go out, not a man will be left with you by nightfall. This will be worse for you than all the calamities that come on you from your youth until now.”…2 Samuel 19:7
This verse says a lot about the importance of encouragement. In this moment, if encouragement was not given to the men, it was highly probable that the men would be gone before the day was over. This would NOT be a good thing. In fact, losing these men because they didn’t go offer encouragement would be one of the very worse things that had ever happened to them.
Thankfully for me, the lack of encouragement on this night did not cause the cast of this play to throw in the towel and say “Just forget it!” I was planning on seeing the show the next day! And now my plan was to also include an extra dose of laughter and clapping! You know what, though? I didn’t need to pull out the big guns. The show was fabulous! Though small, the audience I sat in was very encouraging; laughing, clapping and whistling in all the right places! My momma heart was very grateful for that . Imagine my disappointment if they had canceled the Sunday show due to lack of encouragement the previous night!!
So who do you know who could use a little dose of encouragement provided by YOU? Look around. See the cashier at the grocery store who just looks frazzled. Tell her thank you for getting you through the checkout line so quickly. If she wasn’t so fast, remind her how much God loves her. Brag on your waitress to her manager then leave her a big tip. I bet her feet hurt! That child who is struggling to learn all the letters in her name…praise her for the letters she writes well. The teenager who feels worthless…tell him how worthy he truly is.
I’ve seen it time and time again. When I encourage one thing a person is doing well, they start doing that one thing even better. But something else happens as a result of that encouragement . Suddenly they feel more confident in their ability to do whatever comes next. It’s a sweet thing to watch unfold!
If you are in need of some encouragement yourself right now, here’s one little encouraging word. God “don’t make no junk”! You are perfectly wonderful and fabulous and well loved by your Creator. You can do ALL things because Jesus is by your side….He is your strength. You are worthy and able!! I could go on but I said I had one word and well, I gave you 37!
So I’ll close , not with yet another encouraging word, but an encouraging song. Encouragement is vital in our lives. The very best Encourager I know is waiting to wrap His arms around you and lift you up and tell you He loves you…always!