Even the smallest actions can change the world

Ken Blanchard and Barbara Glands wrote a book called “The Simple Truths of Service.”

In that book, they talk about the power of words and how what you say really does make a difference in the lives of people.

Ken and Barbara had done some training with about 3,000 front-line workers at grocery store and retail outlets across the country.

About a month after their training, they received a call from a 19-year-old bagger from one of the grocery stores they had trained. The young man had Down syndrome. His name was Johnny.

Johnny had called to say he was unsure of how to apply the things he had heard in the training sessions. He explained how he had talked to his dad about it, and together they had developed an idea.

Every evening, Johnny and his dad would come up with a specific statement that was both encouraging and affirming. Sometimes, their statement was an original, and sometimes it was a quote from someone else.

Then they would type that statement six times on a single sheet of paper. They would make 50 copies and cut them into six strips, each bearing the words of encouragement and affirmation. Then Johnny would sit down and personally sign all 300 quotes. That was their routine each night.

Then the next day, after Johnny bagged someone’s groceries, the last thing he would put in the last bag was his note of encouragement. He would look his customer in the eye and say, “I put something very special for you in this sack. I hope it will brighten your day.”

Later, the store manager explained that something amazing started to take place in that store. Even though they had lots of checkout lines open, people would line up all the way back to the frozen food aisle to be in the line where Johnny was bagging groceries. They were willing to wait in line for Johnny’s encouraging word.

Johnny was responsible for single-handedly changing the entire culture of his store. If that can happen in a grocery store, why not where you work? Why not in your home? Why not in the church? Of all places, why not in the church?

The world can be a hard place. Aren’t there enough hurtful, angry words being spoken already? How would it look for you to decide that you will speak words of life and of encouragement this week? What if it were to become a habit? You just might change your world.

You may read Steve Greene’s blog at pastorgreene.wordpress.com or you can email him at steve@gotothepoint.com.