Gifts of Encouragement: Silver Boxes
We can give verbal gifts of encouragement in many different ways. Perhaps these thoughts from little children and from the Bible will help.
I was recently looking through some books in my personal collection and came across a small book written by Florence Littauer entitled Silver Boxes: The Gift of Encouragement. Every time I read it, it gives me renewed encouragement to become more encouraging!
The title of the book comes from an experience Ms. Littauer had while teaching a Bible class for young children. She was explaining the meaning of Ephesians 4:29: “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers” (King James Version).
Words like presents
The children came up with several interpretations of this verse, such as saying no bad words but using good words, saying nice things to others, giving compliments, being cheerful and telling the truth. They agreed that the words coming out of our mouths should be like presents, all wrapped up to be given away.
One little girl stood up and loudly proclaimed for all to hear that our words should be like little silver boxes with bows on top.
A beautiful thought to remember
What a beautiful thought for each of us to remember! Our words should be gifts like little silver boxes with bows on top. Our words are verbal presents to encourage others.
There are so many occasions each day when we can give verbal gifts of encouragement rather than words of indifference or words that could be cutting or hurtful. Words of kindness are an unfamiliar commodity in today’s rushed world.
We often make comments to others and think they are positive, when in reality they aren’t. We must remember that our words of encouragement must be understood as encouragement by the receiver, not just perceived that way in our own minds.
How to use words to encourage
How can we give gifts of encouragement like silver boxes with bows on top when talking to others? Here are some examples:
- You can give family members verbal gifts many times throughout the day. Every time you cheerfully listen with interest to your children tell about their activities at school or your mate tell about his or her day at work, you are presenting them with a silver box with a bow on top.
- When you go to the department store and need help with selections or when you pay for your purchase, you are giving a gift of encouragement by being positive, telling the clerk you appreciate his or her help and wishing the person a good day.
- When you telephone a Church member who has been ill or discouraged in some way, you are extending a verbal gift of encouragement.
- When you send cards of encouragement, it’s like you are sending a silver box with a bow on top.
There are so many ways we can incorporate this process into our daily lives.
Not only will you have inward satisfaction from giving, but your verbal gifts will be remembered as a kindness and encouragement by others. Hidden thorns in words leave a negative feeling in both the giver and receiver; however, words of kindness leave a pleasant memory.
You will find that this habit of giving gifts of encouragement is contagious. With practice, you will find yourself being more caring, cheerful, positive and complimentary. You will be one who is usually greeted by others with a smile and willingness to help.
Godly quotes about the power of our words
God gives many examples of how important our words can be:
- Proverbs 15:23 says, “A word spoken in due season, how good it is!”
- Proverbs 25:11 tells us, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.”
- Proverbs 12:25 says that “anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad.”
- In Proverbs 31:26, we are told about the godly woman: “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness.”
As we travel down the roads of our individual lives, we should strive to give a verbal gift to others at every opportunity. Let your words leave silver boxes with bows on top—gifts of encouragement.
For more about the power of our words, see the “Communication” section.