Putting Encouragement in Others’ Pockets

My dad used to tell me, “It’s never too late to say something nice. No matter how important you think someone is; he or she never tires of encouragement.”

This lesson was reinforced when I came across an article on the contents of Abraham Lincoln’s pockets.

Nobody would dispute the greatness of Lincoln. Edwin Stanton, a noted detractor, looked down at Lincoln’s dying body awkwardly sprawled across a bed and said, “There lies the most perfect ruler of men the world has ever seen, and now he belongs to the ages.”

Did you know that on the night of his assassination, April 14, 1865, Lincoln asked Ulysses Grant and his wife to attend the play at Ford’s Theater with him and Mary? Grant turned him down. In fact, no less than thirteen other people turned down the Lincolns that same night.

It is hard to imagine that if Lincoln were alive today he would have difficulty finding company for a play.

Today we recognize his genius. Lincoln is the poster child for what every leader should be. That is why I was surprised to read what he had in his pocket the night he died. After John Wilkes Booth’s cowardly act they moved the mortally wounded president across the street to the Peterson House. A tenant by the name of Henry Safford saw what was happening and said, “Bring him in here.” They took the president through the parlor and laid him diagonally on the bed. Then they went through his pockets.

When Abraham Lincoln died he was carrying two pairs of spectacles and a lens polisher, a pocketknife, a watch fob, a linen handkerchief, and a brown leather wallet containing a five-dollar Confederate bill. He also had several newspaper clippings containing favorable reviews of his presidency and policies.

Abraham Lincoln, the greatest leader the world has ever known, carried compliments with him to his grave. My father’s words echoed through my mind.

Everyone needs encouragement. Season your speech with grace. Be a source of encouragement.

(Colossians 4:6) Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.

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