Tag Archives: receive

Kind Words and A Kiss

Story of the Day for Friday April 20, 2012

Kind Words and A Kiss

What a joy to give an apt reply, and how delightful is a timely word!
Proverbs 15:23

Benjamin West was one of the greatest painters of his day. Do you recall his masterpiece The Death of General Wolfe? Okay, well never mind — he was a good painter. He painted Benjamin Franklin and George Washington. In 1763, he moved to England where King George III had him paint the portraits of the royal family. Later, he became president of the Royal Academy of Arts.

William Barclay describes a time when West was little. One day his mother left him in charge of his little sister Sally. Benjamin discovered some bottles of ink and began to paint Sally’s portrait

He made quite a mess of things, with ink blots all over.

When his mother came home, she saw the mess but said nothing. She noticed the painting, picked it up and said, “Why, it’s Sally!” Then she stooped down and kissed Benjamin.
Benjamin West used to say, “My mother’s kiss made me a painter.”

Kind words and a kiss. What a joyous moment that must have been.

I’m not, however, referring to the delight of little Benjamin West, but of his mother. Proverbs 15:23 isn’t talking about the joy of receiving an apt reply; it’s talking about the joy of giving one.

Many times, of course, we must criticize others, and others must criticize us. But have you ever noticed that those who are habitually critical of others look like they just found a toenail clipping in their soup?

Yeah, sometimes we have to criticize, but it pains us — or, at least it should pain us. Speaking kind words, on the other hand, does more than bring encouragement to the hearer; an encouraging word delights the giver.

This last winter I completed my twentieth Birkebeiner. The “Birkie” is a cross-country ski marathon stretching over thirty miles from Cable to Hayward, Wisconsin.
Thousands of spectators line the course. To reach the finish line you must ski down Main Street in Hayward. You can hear the thunderous roar of the crowd well before you hit the street. Through a P.A. system that can be heard above the din of the crowd, the announcer shouts out your name and hometown as you ski to the finish.

The Birkie is a moving experience. Everyone claps for you and cheers you on. Not once has a spectator shouted “Ski faster! I can’t believe how slow you are!”
Fatigue always catches up with you and when you feel you can ski no further, the spectators provide the lift that sees you through to the finish.

When it comes to spiritual things, I’m a late bloomer, but in recent years I’ve made a discovery. When a fellow skier is injured or has hit the wall, I like to stop now and help. I’m slow enough as it is, and stopping to help others does nothing for my race time.
Over all these years the spectators never shared their secret with me . . . but I’ve learned it’s even more thrilling to give encouragement than it is to receive it.

The Bible says Jesus, “for the joy set before him” endured the cross in our place. Slowly I’m learning how true his words are when he taught us, “It is more blessed to give than receive.”

                              (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

Take Them on Picnics and Such

Story of the Day for Monday January 23, 2012

Take Them On Picnics, and Stuff

                 They began selling their goods and possessions and handed them out to anyone as he had need. 

                                                                                 Acts 2:45

Neil Kurshan tells the story of a medical student who was torn between completing medical school or dropping out to raise a family. She presented her dilemma to a counselor – who suggested she could do both. She could hire someone to look after the children while she completed her degree.

The medical student told the counselor she had vowed never to entrust her children to a nanny, and then explained why.

Her wealthy parents would vacation in Europe each year and left her with a nanny. When she was eleven, the nanny quit – just before they were planning to leave for Europe. Just before they were set to leave, they found a replacement.

The daughter noticed her mom was wrapping up all the silverware and jewels, and asked why. She had never done that before. Her mother explained that they couldn’t trust the new maid with the family valuables.

That remark deeply shook her daughter. Her mother was entrusting her to a stranger. Wasn’t she a “family valuable”?


There is, of course, nothing wrong with hiring babysitters. But we must realize that it is easy to confuse what is truly valuable in life. When Jesus said it is more blessed to give than to receive, in one simple statement he clarified the proper relationship between possessions and people.

Sociologists at the University of Oklahoma asked students their memories of Christmases past. The students recalled all kinds of family activities and Christmas traditions. But, surprisingly, no one mentioned a single present they received.


When the Roman general, Decius, returned victorious after subduing the Gauls, he used his military power to overtake the government, and crowned himself as the Roman Emperor.

Once in power, he launched a vicious persecution of Christians. In the year, 258, the Roman bishop, Sixtus, was martyred. Then Decius had Lawrence, the church’s treasurer, brought before him. Decius promised Lawrence freedom if he surrendered all the church’s treasures.

Lawrence agreed to present the emperor with the church’s wealth, but he would need three days to collect it. The emperor granted the request.

Three days later, Lawrence assembled a group of the poor, the sick, the elderly, widows, and orphans. “These,” Lawrence announced to the emperor, “are the treasures of the Church.”


Never keep your treasures in a bank. It’s far too confining, and they’ll wind up eating all the suckers on the bank teller counters. Keep your money in a bank, but hold your treasures close to your heart. And take them on picnics, and stuff.

                                        (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)