Happy New Year! It’s been several weeks since I wrote to you and to be sure, I am so exhausted this evening that I wasn’t going to write anything tonight either. In fact, it has been quite nice to take a little sabbatical instead of spending several hours each evening organizing my thoughts. I have heard through Janet that a number of you miss the daily blog and I have been trying to discern my next steps. Tonight, there are many things that I thought about telling you. For example, it was 49 years ago today that my paternal grandfather died – and the first time that I witnessed my father sobbing uncontrollably.
Or the fact that we, as a family, are dealing with health issues and one of our members is having surgery in the morning for a detached retina – prayers appreciated, by the way….. But one thing in particular struck me so profoundly that I just couldn’t ignore it. So here goes…
Last May, I wrote about Carlos, a desk clerk at a hotel that I know from my stays in Evansville where I am this evening. At this particular place, each employee wears a name tag with a line that describes something that is important to them. I smiled the first time that I saw Carlos with his tag indicating, “I Love Jesus.” He has been a wonderful encouragement to great numbers of people on the road who are greeted by him as they check into this hotel. So imagine my surprise when I checked in this evening and was greeted by Carlos – without his name tag and obviously a little down. Even kidding a little with him didn’t bring him out of his funk.
To be sure, I was a little shaken by the whole thing. After all, he is always upbeat and pleasant and helpful and courteous. All the things a weary traveller appreciates when they check in. But not tonight… apparently, a guest complained to Carlos about his love for Jesus. In fact, he gave Carlos a rather hard time and as a result, Carlos took off his tag. I kept thinking about the situation and when I arrived at my room, I made a decision. Carlos needed encouragement – something that it’s easy to forget with people who are always so upbeat. But in reality, they need to be encouraged from time to time – just like the rest of us.
So I got out my iPad, logged onto TBTB, searched for the post I wrote about Carlos last spring – and walked back down to his desk. I told him about how I write these articles, showed him the post and asked him to read it – after all, it was about him and all the things he did for others. I was waiting for him to call me so I could head down to get my iPad. Instead, there was a knock on the door and there he was – returning my property with a huge smile on his face. Carlos was back – all it took was somebody taking a little interest in encouraging him the way that he encourages others. In fact, he was thrilled and it showed. It occurred to me that sometimes a small random act of kindness can have far reaching benefits to others. Tonight, God used me in a way that was totally unexpected and in the process, I was encouraged as well. That’s why I am writing this evening – I couldn’t pass up the chance to share this story with you.
Our verse for this evening is from Dr. Luke’s book of Acts. Apollos, a devout believer who was going on the road to preach and spread the Good News, was headed out and other believers encouraged him on his mission. Luke tells us, in Acts 18:27, “When Apollos wanted to go to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples there to welcome him. On arriving, he was a great help to those who by grace had believed.” And this is just one example of believers surrounding one another and providing assistance and encouragement as they went into the mission field – after all, that can be a lonely place. Carlos found that out this evening and I am sure that each of us has felt alone at work from time to time.
My encouragement this evening is that God wants us to encourage and motivate one another. It’s a part of being a member of the family of believers. My prayer is that you will stay alert for opportunities to provide a kind word to those people who cross your path and could use a little motivation. And, by the way, when Carlos brought my iPad back, he proudly had his badge back on! Hallelujah! Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…