Silver Boxes: Gifts that last a lifetime!
BY: JANICE HEFFER WRIGHT
We have all heard the little saying, “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words can never hurt me!” Well, that is NOT true. Words linger long after they are spoken...and hurtful words can last a lifetime!! Words can comfort or curse, bring hope or heartache, or make people better or bitter. Encouraging Words can be like a burst of sunlight that breaks through and bathes a broken heart; or like a tornado that tears apart and brings tremendous destruction.
Some time ago, I heard the author, Florence Littauer, speak about building up people rather than tearing them down. After reading her book, Silver Boxes-The Gift of Encouragement, I was excited about the possibility of making a difference, simply by intentionally using encouraging words, generously giving out “Silver Boxes”.
Ephesians 4:29: “Do not let corrupt communication come out of you mouths, but only what is helpful for edifying, that it may minister grace to the hearers." (Silver Boxes with Bows on Top!)
Silver Boxes can transform our FAMILIES, our FRIENDS, our WORKPLACES, our COMMUNITIES, and our CHURCHES...and most of all they can transform us from grumpiness to joyfulness!!
In James 3:5,6 we find the writer talking about the importance of words when he says that “even though the tongue is a small part of the body, it is hard to control; it is unruly and full of poison; the same tongue that can curse, can bless.” A person who can control his tongue and the words that come from his mouth is truly a strong person. King Solomon wrote, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.”
Proverbs 25:11. Even King David realized the need to call on God to help him when he said. “Let the words of my mouth, and the thoughts I have be pleasing to you, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer”, Psalm 19:14. I have a little magnet that says, "Lord fill my mouth with worthwhile stuff and nudge me when I've said enough." I have to pray that often!!!
We cannot lavishly give out “silver boxes” in our our strength, but “I can do ALL things through Christ, who strengthens me”, Philippians 4:13. His authority should be our summons, and His glory, the aim of all our actions, words, and deeds. A wise man once said, “Always keep your words tender in case you have to eat them later.” Colossians 3:17: And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.”
People need the Message of the saving grace of God, but they also need the model of the Christ-like life. May the Holy Spirit give us the power to incorporate both!! Proverbs 12:25: “An anxious heart weighs a man down; but a kind word cheers him up.” Giving out Silver Boxes of Encouraging words and actions can be one way to be His witnesses and to show others God's Unfailing Love.
Often the most neglected group of people is our FAMILY, so we will start with them! Ask youself, “Am I passing judgment or extending love?” Sometimes, we give a Silver Box and snatch it right back. We say, “Thanks for your help today. I appreciate all you did.” Then, once we have the family member’s attention, we decide it is time to give a sermon…..”Why aren’t you helpful all the time? You have no idea how hard I work for you day in and day out……blah, blah. blah!” The Silver Box lies crumpbled on the floor, and a heart is crushed. GIVE the Silver Box and save the sermon for later!!!
Next, let's look at giving Silver Boxes to our FRIENDS. Many of the same gifts of encouragement are those we give to our family. Often a friend will express a need, and we promise to PRAY for them. Instead of trusting our memory and perhaps remembering (or forgetting) to pray at another time, why not get into the practice of praying with them right then and there? Perhaps it is in the store, on the street, or over the phone.
God doesn't care where we pray.......He is always present and ready to listen and answer......and we shouldn't hesitate to pray anywhere! With people blabbing on their cell phones all the time, we shouldn't feel uncomfortable praying in public!! After all, we are talking to the King of Kings!! We can encourage our friends by sending notes and making phone calls…. expressing love and concern. Spending time with a friend can show your love and reflect the love of God. You may have many friends who do not know Christ as their Savior; by following God's voice and giving out Silver Boxes, you can be a reflection of God's love and perhaps lead that friend to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
Matthew 5:14-16, “You are the light of the world.....let your light shine before men that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in Heaven.” Brighten up the world by reflecting God's love. We must always remember the purpose of giving out Silver Boxes is that God will be glorified. Albert Simpson wrote a hymn which includes these words, “Not I but Christ be honored, loved, exalted; Not I but Christ be seen, be known, be heard; Not I but Christ in every look and action; Not I but Christ in every thought and word.”
Now, we come to the WORKPLACE: We know all of us work......some just have to leave the house; others of us find plenty to do at home!! We do not sit around all day watching TV and eating chocolates! Although I believe that one Hersey's kiss a day keeps the doctor away!!(Dark chocolate, of course!!)
Galatians 5:1-6. The Message translation reads like this: “Live creatively, friends. If someone falls into sin, lovingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day's out Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ's law. If you think you are too good for that, you are badly deceived. Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don't be impressed with yourself. Don't compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.” ….and one way to do that is to be lavish givers of Silver Boxes: Gifts of Encouragement even in the Workplace!
Now, let's focus on our COMMUNITY. This group includes the grocery stores, shopping malls, post offices, restaurants, hotels, schools, neighbors, etc. Some of the people we encounter in these places are strangers, so how can we give them Silver Boxes? We can make sure we are in tune with the Holy Spirit's promptings and give a smile, say a simple “thank you”, “how are you today”, “God bless you”, “Jesus loves you”, “you are doing a great job keeping the store clean!”, intentionally speak encouraging words to those we meet in our community.
“Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith...Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” One way to do this is to make it a habit to give out Silver Boxes: Gifts of Encouragement wherever we are. 2 Corinthians 2:15-16 .....
"...For we are the sweet fragrance of Christ unto God,” We have the fragrance of God’s grace over us. We no longer have an aroma of death. Since we are now God’s children, saved by grace, we are like sweet smelling incense to Him.
We need to see ourselves in this light…. as being a pleasure to God – a beautiful fragrance that brings a smile to His face. Our new life in Christ represents a sweet aroma of ‘life’, living and fresh. As you go into your day, take the sweet aroma of God everywhere you go and distribute Silver Boxes: Gifts of Encouragement.
Sometimes giving Silver Boxes is often neglected in the Church. We have our own preconceived ideas as to how things should be, and we can be quick to develop a critical spirit which leads to disaster!!! Hebrews 12:15 “Make sure that no one misses out on God's grace. Make sure that no root of bitterness grows up that might cause trouble and pollute many people.” The MESSAGE reads like this: “So don't sit around on your hands! No more dragging your feet! Clear the path for long-distance runners so not one will trip and fall, so no one will step in a hole and sprain an ankle. Help each other out. And run for it! Work at getting along with each other and with God. Otherwise you'll never get so much as a glimpse of God. Make sure no one gets left out of God's generosity. Keep a sharp eye out for weeds of bitter discontent. A thistle or two gone to seed can ruin a whole garden in no time. Watch out for the Esau syndrome: “trading away God's lifelong gift in order to satisfy a short-term appetite.”
Galatians 6 gives us some instructions: “Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.....Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.” Romans 15:5-6, “May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you many glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Make a commitment to be a generous giver of Silver Boxes as we, together, trust in the power of the Holy Spirit and God’s Word to give us the courage, strength, wisdom, and discernment!!
Dear Heavenly Father,
“I come boldly to the throne of Grace where we can find mercy, and grace to help in time of need”, Hebrews 4:16.
“I pray that out of your glorious riches you may strengthen us with power through your Spirit in our inner being, so that Christ may dwell in our hearts through faith. And I pray that we, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and may we know this love that surpasses knowledge—that we may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God”, Ephesians 3:16-19
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever”!, Ephesians 3:20-21
May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you His favor and give you His peace.’ as you become a Lavish givers of SILVER BOXES: Gifts of Encouragement ~ Numbers 6:24-26 (NLT)
In the precious name of Jesus and for His honor and glory, Amen.
Action Step: Wrap up some little boxes in silver paper and put a bow on top. Place them in strategic places in your home to remind you to give out words of encouragement, “Silver Boxes”, as you go about your daily activities……I guarantee it will make everyday more joyful!