A newspaper cartoonist sent an e-mail to twenty of his acquaintances. Each message was the same, and it contained only one word, "Congratulations!" But, as far as he knew, not one of them had accomplished anything in particular worth congratulating.
Within a few days, he had either an e-mail or phone call of thanks from everyone on the list. And everyone of them mentioned something they had done that seemed deserving of praise. Most of them said, "I was really surprised you found out."
Lesson: Everyone likes to be complimented.
In Proverbs 25:11, we read, "A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver." Apples of gold in a framework of silver represent sculptured work for the decoration of expensive buildings. They were objects of great beauty. Equally lovely are the words of appreciation spoken at the proper time.
It has been correctly stated, "There is in the world far more hunger for love and appreciation than there is for bread."
Proverbs 15:4 begins with, "A wholesome (healing) tongue is a tree of life." A factory in North Carolina sponsored a radio music show, and ran unusual commercials. They made mention of outstanding employees. Pride raised by hearing their virtues praised to the public caused the workers to attack their chores with greater zeal, and increased productivity by 125 percent!
Lord Chesterfield suggested to his son that he follow the example of the Duke de Novernois: "You will perceive that he makes people pleased with him by making them first pleased with themselves."
Proverbs 15:4 continues with, "But perverseness in it breaks the spirit." A young mother told the following story: "My little boy often misbehaves, and I have to scold him. But one day he had been especially good. That night, after I tucked him in bed and started downstairs, I heard him crying. I found his head buried in the pillow. Between sobs, he asked, 'Mommy, haven't I been a pretty good boy today?' That question went through me like a knife," the mother said. "I had been quick to correct him when he did wrong, but when he had behaved, I hadn't noticed. I had put him to bed without a word of praise."
"A man has joy by the answer of his mouth, and a word spoken in due season, how good it is!" Proverbs 15:23.
Dave Arnold, Pastor
Gulf Coast Worship Center
New Port Richey, Florida, 34654