By Susan Stewart
I ran into Terry Harris last weekend, and I couldn't wait to tell him how the words I heard him speak had impacted me. Two years later I still feel the impact of that speech - and will for the rest of my life. His response was notable. He was sitting in front of a full plate of food waiting to take his first bite. I had the feeling I was being more than a little rude, so I tried to talk fast in order to let him get to his meal as quickly as possible. Terry didn't seem to mind my intrusion at all. He put down his fork and looked intently into my eyes as I spoke, repeating back to me some of the things I said by way of affirmation. He looked for all the world to be hanging on to every word I said. At that moment in time I felt like the most important person in the world to him, and I'll bet I was! He thanked me profusely for giving him that feedback and then asked me if I had a CD of his talk that day, recordings of which had been available to buy.
I had to say, "No, I didn't". I was a bit embarrassed for not having bought one at the time. How I wished in that moment I could have said, "yes!" But I needn't have worried. Nonplussed, he turned to his wife Dawn, who was listening as well as participating in the conversation equally intently, and asked if they had one along with them. He wanted to give one to me - free of charge. They didn't, but she fished another CD out of her bag and gave that one to me instead. I had approached him in order to thank him, and he ended up thanking me! I've been listening to that CD on the way to work all week long, and Terry, if you're reading this, thank you again, because listening to that series of your radio shows has been a real encouragement!
Terry is certainly a Master Encourager. After this brief encounter with him, I walked away not only with a new CD of some of his radio programs, but with a bit more of his courage tucked away inside of me. And I'm sure he doesn't have any less for sharing, either. That's how encouragement works. The more you give away, the more you get in return. Imagine if every person who walked away from an encounter with you, left with a bit of your courage inside them. That's the kind of man Terry Harris is, and that's the kind of person I want to be.
"Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching." Hebrews 10:25 NIV