One of the most encouraging telephone calls I ever received came one Saturday morning.

The woman introduced herself as the wife of a former student. She wanted me to know that her husband had just been chosen as the administrator of a major hospital in Florida.

Then her husband came on the line. “I want you to know,” he said, “that I didn’t have a clue what to do with my life until I took your graduate course. You helped me discover my passion and my voice. Thank you.”

Telephone calls like that will keep you working for years.

When I was a freshman at Mars Hill College, I made a similar call to my high school superintendent, who also taught an honors public speaking course.

At a time when the world looked very bleak to me, I received a book from him with a message of encouragement written on the inside cover. He expressed his confidence that I was up to the challenge. I still have and cherish that book.

Our words are far more important than most of us would ever imagine. As important as the spoken word is, the unspoken word can become even more important.

The words I didn’t say when my dad was in the hospital still haunt me. No, I didn’t know that it would be my last opportunity, but that is little comfort now. Don’t make the mistake I made.

How often have you regretted not telling someone how much you loved or admired him or her? How often have you regretted not thanking someone for a kindness? How often have you regretted not picking up the telephone to congratulate someone or to express sympathy?

June 5 is Say Something Nice Sunday.

Don’t miss a wonderful opportunity to say something heartfelt and meaningful to someone you encounter.

Life is made up of thousands of encounters. Some are enduring and some are quick, but all of them are important. No matter how brief the encounter, it leaves an impression. A touch no matter how light is still a touch.

You have the power to make someone’s day better or worse simply with your words.

Whether the glass is half full or half empty is entirely up to you. All it takes is a smile and a hello. Where else can you get such a return for such a small investment?

Sure, someone might growl at you or ignore your greeting. Suppose that happens, so what? Don’t let that person stop your mission.

If we want the world to be a friendlier place, it starts with us. We can change the world. It is an opportunity open to the wealthiest among us or the poorest. Don’t miss the opportunity to brighten someone’s day. The return on your investment is immediate. You will feel better.

Hebrews 10:25 says, “…but let us encourage one another.”

It is impossible for us to know what is taking place in the lives of those around us.

Somewhere I heard the expression, “There is never a wrong time to do the right thing.”

A word of encouragement is always welcomed.

In 2004, Marlo Thomas published a wonderful book, “The Right Words at the Right Time.” She collected stories from 101 celebrities who related how the right words at the right time had changed their lives.

In 2007, she published a follow-up with stories from ordinary people with the same theme. The remarkable thing about both books is that the people are from far different walks of life, but the stories of the life-changing power of words are the same. We shouldn’t be surprised.

What are the words we most long to hear from our Savior? “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21).

If those are the words that we would most like to hear, why would we withhold them from the people we meet along the way?

Mitch Carnell is a consultant in organizational and interpersonal communication. He is the editor of “Christian Civility in an Uncivil World” and an active lay member of First Baptist Church of Charleston, S.C.

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