Today I had the opportunity to hear prominent American political consultant Dick Morris speak. Morris is credited with piloting Bill Clinton to a comeback re-election victory in 1998 after the president lost Congress to the Republicans two years before. Morris has handled the winning campaigns for more than 30 Senators or Governors. Morris has become a familiar figure as a commentator for the Fox News Channel.
While I was waiting in line for the breakfast buffet I suddenly noticed Morris coming my way. He was shaking the hands of people in line in front of me. When he got to me I greeted him. Morris smiled, shook my hand, quickly read my name tag which also noted the name of my church. He asked, "Are you a minister?" I replied yes and Morris said, "Thank you for what you do." Then Morris moved on down the line and greeted everyone after me.
As I watched Morris work the crowd I reflected on his words, "Thank you for what you do." Did he mean that? Was that just part of working a crowd? I don't know and I choose to give Morris the benefit of the doubt. But the greater point is that in that moment I thought, "I can't remember anyone ever saying that to me just by virtue of my title." I've certainly been shown appreciation by people that know me or to whom I've given help but not from a stranger just by virtue of my vocation.
As the morning's program began I was still reflecting on that comment. The room was filled with insurance agents, real estate agents, business consultants, hospital administrators, educators, politicians and more. It seemed as if God's Spirit raised the question, "How many have you thanked for doing what they do?"
I was encouraged in the moment of Morris' greeting. Now I'm moved to give that gift of encouragement to others, people that I don't know but check me out of the store or serve me coffee or assist me in the bank. We have power to encourage others. I want to use it.