The written instructions from my wife Sandra were unmistakably clear. She was about to leave for a week of visiting with her mother. Before she left, she wrote out a list of things regarding care of our little dog, Teddy. She knows that I tend to get busy with my plans and often ignore him in the process. After listing the items such as feeding and walking him, she printed the words in BIG letters so that I could not miss this last instruction: “TALK TO HIM!”
Like people, dogs get lonely, stressed out and in need of consistently healthy affirmation. Our dog needed to know that I cared about him. An affirmed dog who receives the expressed love of his owner is a healthier dog. For a couple of days after Sandra left, Teddy ate very little food. He missed her encouraging words. Therefore, I determined to follow my instructions – especially that last part. So, I talked to him!
The Bible has much to say about the need for us to talk to one another for the purpose of encouragement and personal growth. Our physical, mental and emotional health depends on our receiving verbal spiritually encouraging words. Yet, we get so busy with our plans. Even in churches, many lonely, stressed individuals come and go without anyone talking meaningfully with them. They are starved for affirmation. Like our Teddy, it can even disrupt their appetite and performance.
I am not talking about empty shallow words without real substance. The words of which I speak are best summarized in the words of Paul, the apostle to Christians disciples in the Greek city of
“Whatever happens, dear brothers and sisters, may the Lord give you joy.
I never get tired of telling you this.
I am doing this for your own good.” (Philippians 3:1, NLT)
Whenever you are in a group or assembly of any kind, resist the temptation to stay talking with your friends. Break out of that routine and verbally connect with that other person. Your friends will be there. But, you may never see the other person again – even in the church. TALK TO HIM! TALK TO HER!
Even if you don’t feel like doing this, do it for the good of the other person (Philippians 3:1). Act on this and you will begin to develop the “mind” of Jesus Christ in you:
“You know how full of love and kindness our Lord Jesus was. Though He was very rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by His poverty he could make you rich.” (2 Corinthians 8:9, NLT)
So, talk to him or her. Break out of your own busy schedule and mindset. Talk affirmation to someone near you today – making them “rich” in the blessings of God.