As scientists are scampering to find a vaccine for Covid-19, I can only imagine the gratification of discovering its cure. Or cancer’s. Or A.L.S’s. Or any of the other, horrific disease that plagues us. And yes, I do spend far too much time imagining unattainable accomplishments…
Like bringing the Democrats and Republicans together as a team, where name-calling and lies cease to exist.
Like ending world hunger or domestic abuse or genocide or corruption.
Like solving a Cold Case file and bringing a criminal to justice or using DNA to release an imprisoned inmate.
Or, more selfishly, like being a winning jockey in the Kentucky Derby or the #1 driver in the Indianapolis 500 or capturing the gold after tumbling across the mat in the Olympics.
My imaginations will never become a reality, of course, because I’m not smart enough, not courageous enough, not young enough and not talented enough. But that’s okay, because I have been blessed with another gift: I love to celebrate the success of those who have been given gifts by God to do what I can only imagine, knowing that others can complement my weaknesses without threatening who I am.
My gift is edification. I get excited for others’ successes and don’t feel slighted when others have what I don’t. I enjoy telling a pastor that he has delivered a thought-provoking sermon, or a waitress that she has done an exceptional job tending to my table, or a trash collector that he’s dependable and pleasant and his boss is lucky to have him. I love praising talents or kindness that others exhibit, knowing that everyone has something that can be praised. EVERYONE!
Long ago, I realized that envying what someone else has or what they do diminishes what God wants to do in me. Regrettably, I have a couple of friends whose vocabularies lack compliments. I remember showing both of them a spectacular home, only to have one comment, “Boy! You’d be nuts to want to clean that thing,” while the other said nothing.
I don’t understand it. My uncomplimentary friends love to receive compliments, so why do they find it so hard to celebrate others’ blessings? Psychologists would call them insecure, but they who need validation themselves fail to realize that true satisfaction comes from building up others.
In 1 John, the apostle, writing to newbie Christians, shares his excitement about walking with Jesus. He is eager to pass on to his readers the difference Christ will make in their lives, but I love what he wrote in Verse 4: Our motive for writing is simply this: We want you to enjoy this too. Your joy will double our joy. (MSG) In other words, seeing you as the beneficiary of something special makes us double-happy.
And that’s good news. Encouraging or praising or edifying someone is itself a blessing. I may not be able to cure a disease or end corruption or win a horse race, but I sure can make someone double-happy with a simple, sincere compliment. This morning I prayed for such an opportunity.
Stay tuned next week when I share how God answered my prayer.