A gift, a flag … encouragement

Published 9:39 am Thursday, November 17, 2016

Recently, I received a surprise package containing a large American Flag. I had no clue why I would receive such a beautiful gift in the mail. There was a certificate inside: “This is to certify that the accompanying flag was flown over the United States Capitol at the request of Senator Tim Johnson of South Dakota. The flag was flown in honor of Rev. Larry Davies.”

There was a note: “Dear Larry: I still remember your dedication and courage in seeking to find the location of the person who was suicidal so that you could send help. You are and have been a continual source of inspiration and guidance for me. I am so very grateful that I found you. I know that you have touched the lives of many people. You have truly been an instrument for God’s work. I had the opportunity to request the enclosed gift for you and didn’t hesitate. You are a blessing to our country!” — Roger Baron

Roger Baron recently retired as a distinguished law professor at the University of South Dakota. Roger has also been a prayer partner working with our SowingSeedsofFaith.com ministry and devotion site. Each week, when people requested prayer, Roger was quick to send notes and emails of encouragement. One person Roger mentioned was someone who posted on our website saying she was considering suicide. We found her and sent help just in time. At other times, when I or my partner were unable to distribute prayer requests, Roger volunteered and distributed the lists to our prayer partners.

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Roger is also a recovering alcoholic who writes a daily blog teaching scripture along with the philosophy of Alcoholics Anonymous. In one email, Roger wrote: “An A.A. member was asked, ‘Would you like a drink?’ His response was “No, thank you, I have to be in Tulsa in six months.” If you are an alcoholic, you probably find this accurate and funny. It reminds us that everything in the future is going to be affected by what we do today and that our job is to stay sober just for today, or else there is no future.

Roger understands first-hand the struggles of an alcoholic and uses that understanding to help and encourage others. The Bible teaches us: “With this news, strengthen those who have tired hands, and encourage those who have weak knees.” – Isaiah 35:3. Roger understands very well the power of an encouraging word for those who have tired hands and weak knees.

Why am I telling you this story? Two reasons:

1. Who encouraged you? Roger was grateful for our ministry and found a creative way to say thanks. We, too, are blessed by so many. How can we express appreciation?

2. Who are we encouraging? Maybe it’s a teenager looking for an opportunity. It could be your next-door neighbor, a member of your church or a coworker. Your kindness could change someone’s life.

The Bible gives specific instructions: “Therefore encourage each other and build each other up…” (1 Thessalonians 5:11) This may be the single most important task we undertake as God’s church. In a world seeking to put others down, the church should be a place where you can receive and give encouragement to build each other up.

Thank you, Roger Baron, for being an encourager. Your creative way of saying thanks touched me deeply. God, please enable me to become a similar source of encouragement for others. Help me creatively find ways to say thank you someone else. Amen.

You can send an email of encouragement or ask to receive his daily blog by email at the following address: roger.baron@usd.edu.

Rev. Larry E. Davies can be reached at larrydavies@sowingseedsoffaith.com.