You've Got Gold

My kids get tons of mail from colleges they'll never attend and ads for magazines they'll never order. My husband has gotten scads of mail from retirement organizations since he was in his early forties (he's still not sure how to take that). I've often wondered if ours is some sort of default address for every piece of mail no one wants. Yesterday was the topper. There was important mail for (are you ready for this?) The cat! Seems Sammy is due for some shots and there's a sale on catnip at the pet shop down the road. Do you think I should tell those people that Sammy can't read?

Once we get the mail out of the box and it gets through the door, it seems some kind of mail growth hormone is activated. One stack of mail can quickly become three. Then the kids pilfer through it and suddenly it's seven. My husband just thinks about touching the mail and it explodes four-fold more.

I'm amazed at how many advertising pieces my mail lady can fit into one small mailbox. I thought it was interesting that I got a flyer advertising the latest sale down at Farm Implements R Us. That could actually be helpful. Except I'm not a farmer. Still, there are stacks of advertisements as tall as the corn grows. Here a stack, there a stack, everywhere a mail stack. Okay, maybe I am a farmer of sorts. And each day there's a new crop. If we could eat mail, I think I could feed the world just from this one address. It's enough to make a person go totally postal.

That doesn't even count email. If I told you how many emails I get in a day you might just fall right out of your computer chair.

But those notes of encouragement? There's never an eyeroll when one of those pops up. Ah, those are gold. Words of encouragement are always received with great joy, no matter how many offers for prescription drugs and designer watches are already in my box. Proverbs 25:11 says, "A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver." (NIV) Do you know how positively wealthy I feel when I find a silver-lined piece of gold fruit in my inbox? Talk about precious!

I want to filter out some of the word clutter better than I do my mail stacks. As a matter of fact, I think I'll challenge myself to find someone who could use a kind word of encouragement today and then offer that person a taste of gold fruit. Would you like to take the challenge with me? 1 Thessalonians 5:10-11a instructs us to do that very kind of thing. "He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up." (NIV)

Less clutter. More gold. That's going to make for a great harvest. E, I, E, I, O.

Rhonda Rhea

Rhonda Rhea writes for dozens of Christian publications and speaks at conferences and events across the country. You can find her books, "Who Put the Cat in the Fridge," "Turkey Soup for the Soul--Tastes Just Like Chicken," and "Amusing Grace" at your local Christian bookstore. "I'm Dreaming of Some White Chocolate--Christmas Reflections with a Little Holly and a Lot of Jolly" will be available in 2006. Rhonda's husband, Richie Rhea, is a pastor in Troy, Missouri. You can reach them through her Web site at:

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