It was a summer night, common on the surface of things. Fireflies hovered over the grass. Stars began to appear in the dark evening sky. The vespers service had ended and people stood around in groups outside the small frame building they called “The Tabernacle.” Others chatted, soft-drinks or coffee in hand, under the light by the small concession stand they called “The Canteen.”
The preacher had delivered his heart. Before him was the singer -a professional with his own sound equipment and a measure of polish and poise you would not usually encounter in the village chapel. Before him a fourteen-year old boy sang a popular song in a nasal tone.
The boy stood in one of the groups listening to the adults when the traveling singer walked up to the group. He spoke to the boy. “You have a good, strong voice, son. You should take some voice lessons. You really have a strong voice and great potential.” “Thanks,” the young man said, unable to keep a smile from his face. Little else was said and soon the singer drifted into conversation with others.
Now thirty years have passed. A year later the young boy could not have told you the name of the singer, but the next school year he began to study voice. He sang in select groups in high school and often soloed in churches and civic groups. He won parts in college musical events and eventually was awarded a scholarship. He traveled with a musical group representing his college. After college he was asked to serve on the staff of a church as a youth and music Pastor. He has often remembered the simple affirmation offered casually by a virtual stranger decades ago.
I was the boy. I am sure the singer would not remember me or the words he spoke to me that night. Though years have passed I have not forgotten the words he spoke to me.
A simple word of encouragement convinced me that I could be a singer. My parents had often encouraged and instructed me, but a simple word from a virtual stranger was used of God to stimulate a new beginning in my life.
I have a strong personal conviction that will never be erased from my heart. I believe words of praise have a powerful and enduring effect on the very souls of others. The impact of praise on another human being often extends beyond our days on earth and effects the course of generations. Praise has so powerful an effect on the spirit of a man that a simple word spoken on a summer evening can begin a ripple in the water of humanity that will break as a wave of destiny on the very shores of eternity. Think about that while you watch your child chasing the pack at the soccer game. Remember that when your daughter is wobbling around the driveway on her bike or trying something new with her hair. Think about that when you hear your son in the next room struggling to learn a new guitar chord.
The words that most effect the destiny of others-the words likely to shape the very souls of those we love are usually simple, common words that tumble from our lips on ordinary days in the course of common life. But words are powerful, powerful forces for good or evil. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” (Proverbs 18:21 NKJV)
From Stonebridge Newsletter (Number 67)