When I started in full-time vocational ministry more than nine years ago someone gave me the suggestion to keep a file of good notes that I got. Anything that struck my attention or brought a smile to my face would go in this file. I can’t remember who it was who gave me the suggestion, but boy, if I could remember I would give them a big, big hug. Over those nine years, I’ve had to pull out that file on many occasions.
Over those years, I’ve gotten lots of notes. Some were “Thank you” notes, some were “Drop dead” notes, and some were just cards for special occasions. It’s such a jolt of encouragement to open that file and read some of those notes from people who appreciated something I did, something I said, or just the job that I was doing. Believe it or not, I’ve actually saved some of those “Drop dead” notes. It’s always important to keep myself humble in the midst of everything that I do. Reading notes from people who I’ve ticked off, frustrated, or who just don’t like the way I wear my face is an important part of that humility process.
I never really kept tabs on the specific days when I opened the folder the most, but I can almost assure you that a large percentage of the times that I did were Monday mornings. A pastor that I once worked with told me that some pastors didn’t believe in God again until noon on Mondays. Now, that’s a gross overstatement, it doesn’t happen until at least 2PM. No, no, just kidding. But Sunday has the potential of sapping the emotional and physical energy from a pastor if he/she isn’t careful and if God is really moving in the hearts of the pastor and their people alike.
Last week, I had a friend ask me what it felt like the day after a particularly encouraging time together as a church body. Honestly, there were a bunch of years in there where it didn’t really make a difference because Sundays just weren’t that encouraging to me. Nothing incredible was happening, I didn’t really see a lot of God work happening, so it was frustrating. Lately, it’s been almost the complete opposite of that as I have felt like so much is happening. Coming down off of the emotional high that it can cause can be a real downer.
As I was cleaning up around the house for some upcoming birthday parties, I stumbled upon a lot of notes. In the past two years, I’ve lost both parents and was asked to resign from my job as we went through a church split. Needless to say, I have received a lot of notes in those two years. What I stumbled upon was really the outpouring of love that I received during that time.
I read through every note that was in the pile again, some more personal than others. As I read, tears began to form in my eyes as I was just overwhelmed by the love and support that I received over the last few years. It wasn’t just during these hard times though, it was fairly normal for me to receive notes “just because.” I have been so blessed by people who took the time to write notes to me, all of them handwritten on cards.
Sure, I’ve received my fair share of notes that don’t edify me or make my day, but they have been far overshadowed by all of these notes. That’s kind of what this folder is for, to pull out on all of those days when the streams of discouragement seem to be flooding in. Just a few notes is generally all that it takes to help me remember that things aren’t as bad as I thought that they were.
So, next time you feel the urge to send a note to somebody, follow that urge. Take the five minutes that it takes to simply write a few words down on a card. Send it off and pray that it gets there at just the right time. I can tell you from experience, it will mean so much more than you could ever know. Who knows, maybe when you’re the one feeling down, someone might just return the favor.