May the words of my mouth . . . be pleasing in your sight, O LORD. – Psalm 19:14 NIV
At our house, Thursday is leftover day, meaning supper is whatever is left over from meals earlier in the week.
One Wednesday a number of years ago, I made enough stewed tomatoes and macaroni, one of my husband’s favorite meals, to fill his still-a-farmboy stomach and a 2 ½-quart casserole dish with leftovers.
Thursday’s supper, I figured, would be easy: pop the casserole in the nuke, shake packaged salad into bowls, and throw a loaf of fresh bread and soft butter on the table. Nice and quick—just what I needed on grocery day.
But when I was in town that Thursday, a “fresh corn” sign caught my eye. I envisioned steaming yellow cobs dripping with melted butter on our supper plates beside the leftover stewed tomatoes and macaroni. And I pictured a delighted look on my husband’s face.
I’ll surprise him, I thought, flicking on my blinker and turning into the parking lot.
When Dean called to say he was on his way home from work, I had the water boiling and the corn husked, ready to drop into the pot. But his reaction wasn’t what I expected. He didn’t rave about the corn—nary a word about it.
“What’s wrong?” I asked when we sat down at the table. After being married to the guy for more than half my life, I’m pretty good at reading his body language.
“Nothing,” he said.
I gave him my best “I know better than that” look.
“The corn is sweet,” he said, “and the macaroni is, too. You know I don’t like something sweet with something else that’s sweet.”
Sure it’s sweet, I wanted to say, with all the sugar you dump on the macaroni. Instead I said, with just a touch of sarcasm, “Thanks, Michele, for thinking of the fresh corn. It hits the spot.”
Now, my husband doesn’t have a mean bone in his body. He’s honest to a fault. He’ll never tell me, for example, that I look nice just to make me feel good. But, gee, can’t he lie just a little once in awhile?
Perhaps I’m too sensitive, but I’m not alone in this longing to be appreciated.
“There is more hunger in the world for love and appreciation than for bread,” Mother Teresa once said.
St. Paul instructed the early church to “let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them” (Ephesians 4:29 NLT).
Like oil on squeaky hinges, a few words of appreciation can go a long way—in building up relationships, soothing a battered spirit, refreshing a weary soul, and putting a smile on a sad face. I can get a lot of mileage out of one compliment.
“Pleasant words are a honeycomb,” penned the writer of Proverbs, “sweet to the soul and healing to the bones” (Proverbs 16:24).
Sweet words of appreciation—who in your world can use them today?
Open my eyes, Lord, to the many kindnesses others show to me every day—and remind me to express my appreciation often. Amen.
Read and reflect on Luke 17:11–19
© 2009, 2019 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.