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Words of Affirmation
What springs to mind when you hear the phrase “Palm Beach County, Florida”? Maybe you immediately picture the exclusive areas the county is known for —the privacy hedges of Jupiter Island or the lush streets of Palm Beach Island. Maybe you think of the iconic floral arrangement at The Breakers or the pastels of The Colony. Maybe you think of our lovely little airport, how unbelievably fast everyone drives on I-95, the many beautiful golf courses, or the Jupiter Lighthouse and all the fun restaurants that surround it. But I bet your first thought is not “sold out believers.” I have vacationed here pretty regularly for most of my life. My parents and my brother were residents when I was a young married. Will and I got engaged here and have owned property here for more than six years, yet actually living here has changed my perspective.
I have met such great, down to earth Christians and have had surprisingly faith-filled interactions with strangers. A few months back I was sitting in a Starbucks working on my Bible study. One of the baristas was trying to convince one of the patrons to try Bible Study Fellowship. The barista was convinced that the patron would benefit from the in depth study. I could hardly help but eavesdrop on their endearing conversation. It sounded like the patron was going to give it a try and asked for all the specifics.
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Yesterday I went to Whole Foods. I am not a regular, but I was planning a special dinner for our 27.5 anniversary.1 At checkout the lovely cashier tried to help me use my Amazon Prime account. I was essentially acting like a 90 year old, so not savvy with how to pull it up on my phone. But the cashier persevered.
“You are so patient,” I said.
“Oh,” the cashier said, smiling. “It’s only because I work for Jesus!”
This launched an edifying conversation, the kind that can only be shared among followers of Christ. I walked to my car with such joy for the mere existence of my new friend. I wondered how it is that I so often meet incredible people. I am not an overly friendly person or super engaging. Yet maybe I somehow communicate that I truly believe each person is made in the image of God and is of infinite worth — at least I’d like to believe that I live out this truth. Or maybe it’s partly when I am not in a big hurry. More likely it is just God’s grace to consistently encourage me: the world is insane but there is a remnant! Plus it always a good reminder that a few affirming words can work magic. Can you think of a recent interaction (could be with a stranger or a best friend) that went swimmingly well because you affirmed the person in some way?
May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 15:5-6.
Who in your life needs some words of affirmation?
Do you believe a grateful spirit is contagious?
In a culture that has largely abandoned logic, systematically embraces victimhood, and regularly asserts untruths as facts how can you be an encouragement to glorify God with one mind and one voice?
Early in our marriage I told my husband we should start celebrating on the half year since we were often visiting family on December 29th. My sweet man took that to heart and on June 29, 1998 he got a cute little pralines and cream ice cream cake. It said Happy 2.5 on it. Sadly, I had forgotten about my request. I looked at the cake, not seeing the decimal and stupidly asked, “Happy 25?” I was 26 at the time. Yeah! Understandably, that was the last time he got me anything for our half anniversary. Last night I made a yummy dinner and had gotten us one slice of key lime cheesecake to share. We kind of laughed about the 2.5 cake. Maybe in another 25 years it’ll be 100% funny.