In his autobiography, L. O. Dawson told about a minister who died. At his memorial service, the church was filled to overflowing. Various speakers praised the virtues of their deceased pastor and friend.
When it was Mr. Dawson’s turn to address the congregation, he affirmed the truthfulness of the gracious words that had already been spoken. But then he told the audience that if as many of them had been in attendance at the regular services of the church as were there at the funeral service, their pastor would still be alive.
Dawson made this shocking observation to the grieving parishioners: “Empty pews broke your pastor’s heart. He did not know of your love. He died for lack of the things you have today so beautifully said and done.” The story in Dawson’s book concluded with this convicting remark: “More preachers die from broken hearts than from swelled heads.”
May it be said of us as it was of Job: “Your words have upheld him who was stumbling, and you have strengthened the feeble knees” (Job 4:4).
Don’t wait until somebody dies to express your love and respect. Do it today! And remember—pastors need encouragement too.
It was only a kindly word,
And a word that was lightly spoken,
Yet not in vain, for it stilled the pain
Of a heart that was nearly broken. —Anon.
Praise loudly—blame softly.