Having just graduated from high school, Christie had no idea what she would do with her life. If her mother had anything to do with it, she would become a genius and solve the ills of the world. But, that was mother!
In reality, it was known in her class that she was the girl “most likely not to succeed.” But, no one ever took the time to get to know the real Christie; for deep inside she had attributes that were wonderful, and pure.
Of course, Christie kept her attributes and ambitions to herself and in truth, wasn’t sure if those feelings would ever come true. Often, she thought her ambitious dreams were just that---dreams that floated away, once the dream was over.
But then one day something happened and Christie was able to shine like never before. It was on a cold December day, a day when most people wanted to stay inside and keep warm. It was on such a day when Christie was walking to her dental assisting job when she came upon a poor boy, shivering in the cold. Christie thought he looked about seven. He had on nothing but a small, light jacket, and shoes that were old and torn.
As she approached him, he tried hiding his face and then began walking faster, almost like he was afraid or embarrassed for anyone to see him.
“Hello there, little boy. How are you this cold December day?”
He didn’t respond but kept walking; this time a little bit faster.
She decided to let it go; for these days if an adult acted too friendly with a small child, there could be disastrous consequences.
All day at work she kept thinking of the boy and how sad and lonely he looked.
After work, she finished up her chores, said goodbye to everyone, proceeded out the door and began her 20 minute walk back home.
About 10 minutes into the walk she saw the same boy walking her way. He looked much sadder than before, so she decided to speak to him once again.
“Hi there, little one. Take good care, be safe and keep warm!”
He stopped in his tracks, looked up at her and with tears in his eyes replied, “Thank you for saying that. No one has ever said such words to me! I will always remember you; how you looked at me and that you cared, even though you don’t know me.”
And with that, he walked away; his steps much lighter than before.
Years later, Christie was going to college and working part-time as a teacher’s aide, with middle school students. She loved working with the children and was hoping that her encouragement and teaching skills were helping the struggling students.
As she approached a boy who was new to the class, he suddenly looked up from his work, recognized that it was the woman he saw that cold December day years ago and said, “I know you! You’re the lady who said hello to me and wished me well.”
He asked her to come closer, for he wanted to tell her something in private.
“Lady, what you said to me that day I never forgot. I come from a broken home and that day my mother left my dad and I thought that there was nothing to live for. I was even thinking of running away or causing harm to myself and then I remembered your kind words…….I want you to know that my name is Jeremy and that I’m doing much better now.”
Christie just smiled and with tears in her eyes said, “Precious Jeremy! My name is Christie Knowles and you’ve made me happy, too. I was feeling low that day, too until I saw your face…You certainly helped me, too!”
So from that day on, Christie knew that one of her “gifts of the spirit” was encouragement. As the years went by she learned that by encouraging others, she too was encouraged! And, the best part of all, she became closer to Christ.
And, isn’t that what being a Christian is all about?
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