“When I started out in life, all I wanted was to be a football player,” says Jack Kemp, who ended up in the pros for 13 years … Kemp recalls the encouragement he received from Payton Jordan, his coach at Occidental College in Los Angeles: “The coach called me into his office and said, ‘Of all the people on this team, I really think you have it. I want you to work just as if you were a pro-football player.'
“When I left that office, I would have run through a brick wall for Coach Jordan. Several years later, at a reunion, I found out that the coach had told all my teammates that same thing. I was furious! For only a minute. Then I realized that Coach Jordan had made every one of us a little bit better, had helped us to struggle a little bit harder, to reach our potential.”*
Mark Twain was once reputed to have said that he could live for two months on one good compliment! I understand this sentiment completely . And you probably do as well. We live in a world that offers criticism in ample quantities. So, whenever compliments do come our way, they are quite powerful. Jack Kemp’s testimony bears witness to this.
For this reason, we would all do well to consider the power of our words. With them, we can either tear people down, or we can build people up. The first option is easy enough. The second requires a little effort.
Proverbs 25:11 (ESV) states, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.” Similarly, Proverbs 15:23 (NIV) says, “… How good is a timely word.” Jack Kemp understood this. So do I, and perhaps you also. In fact, so does anyone who has ever been motivated by the receipt of a timely word!
Why not make it your goal to find some way to compliment, to encourage, and thereby to motivate some unsuspecting person or persons tomorrow? You will be glad you did. And so will they – perhaps in ways that neither of you can even begin to conceive of today.