Tag Archives: appreciation

Making Someone’s Day

Story of the Day for Friday January 20, 2012

Making Someone’s Day

                    “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.” 

                                                            Proverbs 25:11

Yesterday I received a letter of appreciation from Larry and Rose.  It was so thoughtful and it made my day.

At a 1995 meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a study on doctors was revealed.  Researchers gave 44 physicians a “hypothetical” patient’s symptoms and asked each physician to diagnose the illness.  Half of the doctors were given candy and were told it was a token of appreciation for their participation in the study.  The other half were given nothing.

Alice Isen, a Cornell University psychologist, said the doctors receiving the candy did far better in diagnosing the patient than those who received nothing.

Appreciation lifts people up and increases their competence.


For some reason most of us persist in the notion that criticism is far more helpful in improving others.  And don’t get me wrong – criticism is sometimes necessary.  But ask yourself, do you perform better in life when criticized or encouraged?

So why are we reluctant to express our appreciation to others?  I don’t really know why.  But I do know that showing appreciation is a healthy spiritual practice.  When we tell someone we appreciate them, it is a way of saying that we are indebted to them for what they have done for us.


John Busacker once told a story about Bill, a member of the Board of Regents for a Christian college in Pennsylvania.  Bill was boarding a flight for a flight to Pittsburg when the public address system paged his name.  If he didn’t board immediately he would miss his flight.  But he got out of line to take the message.

Bill’s secretary called him to say the Board of Regents meeting was cancelled and she had re-booked him for a flight home.  When he reached his home town of Atlanta, he called his wife at the airport to pick him up.  There was a long pause and then his wife began sobbing.  “Obviously you haven’t heard the news.  The flight you were supposed to be on crashed and everyone on board has been killed.”

The point is not that the Lord protects us from all harm.  What about the people who died in the crash? Bill was unfazed by the incident.  He knows he’s in God’s hands and trusts in Jesus to bring him to heaven.  But, here’s the point: after the story spread, many people came up to Bill to say how much they appreciate him and how he has touched their lives.  The close call created an awareness of how much we appreciate others.

In The Last Lecture, Randy Pausch says, “Showing gratitude is one of the simplest yet most powerful things humans can do for each other.”

Do you agree?  So, what should we do?  Why don’t we procrastinate?  How about if we put off a hand-written “letter of appreciation” to someone for. . .oh, a half hour.  Get a cup of coffee.  Then think of someone who has touched your life.  You might be surprised at the joy you find in making someone’s day.

                                                              (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

The Midnight Ride of Israel Bissel

Story of the Day for Friday November 25, 2011

The Midnight Ride of Israel Bissel

                       Whatever you do, work with all your soul, as for the Lord and not for people, since you know that will receive the reward of your inheritance from the Lord.  It is the Lord Christ you are serving. 

                                              Colossians 3:23-24

 Paul Revere won fame for his midnight ride to warn the people the British were coming. I doubt any of us would know of Revere were it not for Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, who wrote a well-known poem, “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere.”

You might disagree and say you would have learned this fact from history.  Think so?  Then why have you never heard of Israel Bissel?

Paul Revere galloped on his famous ride for only 10 miles before he was captured by the British. Israel Bissel also rode to warn the American citizens of the British advance.  He warned the citizens of Worchester, Massachusetts, then rode on to New Haven, Connecticut.  After that he rode to New York, and then to Philadelphia. Paul Revere rode 10 miles; Bissel rode 345 miles.  But nobody wrote a famous poem about Israel Bissel (let’s face it: not many words rhyme with “Bissel” – other than “missle,” and “thistle.”)


You know what? We all love being like Paul Revere — noticed and appreciated for what we do. You don’t have to be ashamed of that. If anyone tells you that enjoying appreciation is sinful pride, here’s what you do: Say, “Why, thank you. I really appreciate your insightful wisdom!”  Wait until they flash a pleased smile (they will), and then wink at them.

Seriously, think about it: if being appreciated is a bad thing, then we should stop being polite and thanking people for things. We’re only harming them by showing our appreciation!


Feeling appreciated is not wrong.  Be aware, however, that it is dangerous. A craving for recognition and appreciation has the potential to warp our motivation.  Instead of doing things out of love for Jesus and our neighbor, we can begin acting so that others will notice us and appreciate us. Not good.

Want to know a test to find out if the desire for appreciation has bent your motives?  Ask yourself: Would I behave exactly the same way if nobody ever saw or noticed what I did?

Here is a suggestion to monitor your motives: make a point to do one small thing every day that no one will see. No one will thank you, or appreciate your act. You did it simply for the wild joy of serving the Lord.

The Bible encourages us to work with all our heart and soul – whether anyone notices or not – whether anyone pats us on the head or not.

There is One who sees. And that is all that really matters.

(copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

Who Packed Your Parachute?

Story of the Day for Tuesday September 20, 2011

Who Packed Your Parachute?

                     Remember your leaders who spoke God’s Word to you. 

                                                                  Hebrews 13:7

 Captain Charlie Plumb piloted an F-4 Phantom jet during the Vietnam War. On May 19, 1967, he was flying a mission near Hanoi when his jet was hit by a surface-to-air missile. Plumb ejected and parachuted into enemy territory.

Years later, Plumb and his wife were eating in a restaurant in Kansas City. A man a couple tables away kept staring at him. Later, the man got up from his table, walked over up to Charlie and said, “You’re Captain Plumb.”

“Yes, sir, I’m Captain Plumb.”

“You flew jet fighters in Vietnam,“ he said. “You were on the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk.” The man continued to recite Plumb’s history in Vietnam: being shot down, parachuting into enemy hands, and spending six years as a POW.”

“How in the world,” Charlie asked, “did you know all that?”

“Because,” the man replied, “I packed your parachute,” adding, “I guess it worked.”


Charlie Plumb has shared his meeting with this sailor with thousands of audiences. When he finishes his story, he asks: “Who packed your parachute?”

We focus on those who achieve great things as if their accomplishments were done on their own. Yet, Charlie Plumb’s encounter with a sailor from the Kitty Hawk led him to realize that his success is due to the help and sacrifices of so many others.


After World War I, a returning vet rented an apartment in Chicago in order to live next to one of his favorite authors, Sherwood Anderson.

For two years, the two met nearly every day. When the young veteran, hoping to become a writer, brought samples of his work to Anderson, he could count on receiving brutally honest critiques. After each critique, the young man would return to his typewriter and seek to improve his writing.

Seven years later, the young man, Ernest Hemingway, published his first novel, The Sun Also Rises. “I didn’t know how to write,” Hemingway admits, “until I met Sherwood Anderson.”

After Hemingway’s success, Anderson moved to New Orleans. He began mentoring another young writer. Three years later, this new student, William Faulkner, published the American classic, The Sound and the Fury.

Anderson was a fine writer, but is better remembered for those he helped. Three of Anderson’s students won the Nobel Prize for literature and four won the coveted Pulitzer Prize.


Who mentored you? Who guided and instructed you to become the person you are?

Whatever we achieve in life, it’s important to remember two important people: those who guided us with their wisdom, and those who packed our parachute.

                                                                 (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)


Step Up to the Plate….and Hit a Single

Story of the Day for Saturday July 9, 2011

Step Up to the Plate and. . .Hit a Single


                     When Paul came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him.  They didn’t believe he really was a disciple.  But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. 

                                                          Acts 9:26-27

 I don’t know if you’re supposed to have “favorite” Bible characters, so don’t tell anyone I said this, but one of my favorite Bible characters is Barnabas.

Barnabas is not what his parents named him. His real name was Joseph, but he was so good at lifting the spirits of people that they called him “Barnabas,” which means, “son of encouragement.”

Without Barnabas there would be no Paul.  Saul (who would later be named “Paul”) used to persecute the church and all the disciples were afraid of him.  Barnabas, however, convinced them to have Paul accepted as a fellow believer.

As you read the book of Acts, you’ll find at least 20 times where Luke says “Paul and Barnabas” did this or that on their missionary trips.  But, do you want to know something?  When I think about the book of Acts, it is about the missionary trips of Paul.  Paul is in the limelight and Barnabas almost seems to drop out of the picture.


Are you a Barnabas?  Do you see that it is just as important to help and encourage others as it is to be the one getting all the applause?

I guess it is OK to have favorite baseball players, so let me tell you one of mine: Willie Mays.  Willie Mays was a great hitter.  He hit a lot of doubles.  But, all of a sudden, his doubles declined rapidly.

Do you know why?  When Mays would hit a double, the next batter up was Willie McCovey, who was the best power hitter on the team.  Rather than let him bat, with first base open, they would simply walk him intentionally.

Once Mays realized that his doubles took the bat out of the hands of McCovey, he would deliberately hold up at first base, so that McCovey would have an opportunity to knock one out of the park.  Willie Mays worked to make his teammate look better.

You have to be a person of great humility to help someone else become greater by getting less attention yourself. But, without people who encourage others, the church would have no effective ministry.

Willie Mays would have won more glory if he smacked a lot of doubles rather than singles.  But it is so much more satisfying when we are working for something greater than ourselves – something greater than our own glory.  Mays played on a team.


Why is it that I imagine Barnabas as one of the happiest and most content of the early disciples?  (The Bible doesn’t say anything about that.) Deep down, we find it impossible to imagine this first band of disciples changing a man’s name to “son of encouragement” – and then picturing the guy as morose.  Or obsessed with his own ego.

When we stop to think about it we know that those who delight in encouraging others are those who live with a twinkle in their eyes.


Have you heard of Haley’s comet?  If so, you are mistaken.  It isn’t Haley (as in “hale-ee”), but Halley (as in “hall-ee”).  Let me tell you about Edmund Halley.

But not right now.  First, let’s talk about Sir Isaac Newton.  You know him: the apple falls on his head, supposedly, and he comes up with a mathematical formula for gravity.  After Newton published his findings, he went on to become one of the most famous scientists of all time.

Yet, without Edmund Halley, we probably would never know about Newton.  Halley challenged Newton to think through his theories.  When Newton made mathematical mistakes in his calculations, Halley corrected them.  When Newton wrote up his discoveries, Halley edited his work.  When Newton refused to publish his findings, Halley published them, and paid the printing costs out of his own pocket.  Historians who know this story call it one of the most selfless acts in science history.

And those of us who do know about the comet he discovered rarely pronounce his name right.  Halley was a Barnabas.  He is virtually unknown, but because of his encouragement, he gave Sir Isaac Newton to the world.

Maybe it’s time for us to step up to the plate and. . . hit a single – so that someone else can knock it out of the park.


                                                              (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)