I have always loved writing. When I was younger I kept journals and was constantly trying to come up with something to write about. I wrote poetry and stories and sometimes I would even write pretend news columns for the local paper – complete with left justified margins (handwriting it!). My father had an old smith-corona manual type writer and I would ask to use it every chance I got. I learned home row and was able to type without seeing the keys in no time. I’ve never professed to be an scholarly writer by any stretch of the imagination. My writing tends to be more random-streams-of-consciousness writing. But it’s been a passion of mine for some time.
I had a high school teacher encourage me to write – in fact, he demanded it. He gave me an assignment that no one else knew about. He asked me to write about anything I wanted but I had to do it once a week and hand it in to him. I did. And every comment he wrote on that paper was encouraging. Even his manner of correcting me was always so encouraging. I’m blessed to remember his name – Mr Fleming. I’m blessed as well to be in touch with his daughter and one of my high school classmates to this day. Mr Fleming went to be with our Lord several years ago but his powerful teaching extends farther than he could have imagined.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 says “Encourage one another, and build each other up.” That’s exactly what Mr Fleming did to all of his students – he encouraged us and built us up. The building up and encouragement of this man went far beyond my writing but has permeated many aspects of my life and fuels my decision making. I never had the opportunity to let him know how much I appreciated it but I would like to think he had an idea. For when we build up one another, we build up ourselves as well. The body of Christ must encourage one another; cheer one another on to be the best we can be in the areas in which we excel.
You see, through the kindness of this one man, a seed was planted. And over time that seed continued to grow and is now an integral part of who I am.
We have the privilege to encourage one another and to sow seeds in one another’s heart that God will nurture and allow to grow. And all it takes is an encouraging word.