The other day as I was walking into a store, coming out was a long-time friend that I hadn’t seen in a while. We stopped to talk for a couple minutes and in the course of the conversation I mentioned that I was having difficulty with a certain situation. With the gentle smile that she always seems to have for everyone she said, “Don’t worry, you’ll get it.”

A short time later, at the back of the store, I ran into another friend, one who had extended a helping-hand a few years ago during a very trying time. He, too, has a gentle smile and offered wishes for a good day.

By the time I got back to my car I had the answer for the difficult situation, and even though there were some dark clouds in the sky, the sun seemed to be shining brighter than ever.

As I drove home, I thought about those two encounters. Neither had lasted more than two or three minutes, and yet they could have been hours long, because of the encouragement that was given. No profound statements were made. No suggestions on how to solve the problem. Just friendly smiles and a few encouraging words made all the difference.

How often do we miss opportunities to encourage someone? Everyone has problems, and everyone has challenges or difficulties they are facing. At times everyone has a lonely moment or the feeling of being overwhelmed with everything that is going on or needs to be accomplished. At times, everyone needs a word of encouragement, an encouraging smile or maybe even a helping hand. Maybe all that person needs is to know that someone cares about them and the challenges they might be facing.

Anybody can share a smile; it doesn’t cost a penny and hardly even costs any time. Anyone can give an encouraging word, if they care enough to see the problem or hear the voice asking for help, even if words to that effect are never spoken. Everyone needs someone.

Believe it or not, there is a National Day of Encouragement, and it’s not too far away. Since 2007 this day of encouraging others has been celebrated on September 12. That gives us a little over two weeks to start watching and listening, to find out who might need a bit of encouragement.

But actually, we don’t have to wait until September 12 to look for ways to encourage others. We won’t wait – I hope! – until November 22 to give thanks for the many blessings we receive every day. We shouldn’t wait until December 25 to give someone a gift that just might bring a ray of brightness into their day. If we are still among those who are blessed to have one or both parents still with us, we shouldn’t wait until Mother’s Day or Father’s Day to tell our parents that we love them. We shouldn’t wait until a birthday or anniversary to send best wishes to someone. And we certainly shouldn’t wait until someone is lying in a hospital or funeral home to remember them with a gift of flowers.

King David said in Psalm 118:24, “This is the day which the Lord hath made.” The Lord made this day for many reasons, and maybe one of those reasons is that someone you know needs the encouragement that only you can give. A phone call, a visit, even just a text message can be a source of encouragement. One of the greatest encouragements to me is to receive a text message that might only say, “I’m praying for you.” Not only does it let me know that someone is thinking about me, but that they care enough to know I might have a need that only our Lord can supply. Maybe the need was just to know that someone cares, and that is how the Lord chose to supply that need.

In this day and age, everyone is busy all day, every day. But if we can find just a few moments to do something to encourage someone else, the day will be so much brighter, even if there are clouds on the horizon.

Thought for the week – Smile, and you change the world on little bit.

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