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A friend of mine told me about a time he was a youth counselor at church camp. During the week they had various types of activities. They had bible classes, and prayer groups, and hiking, and worship services, and of course some type of sporting competition every day.

All the kids were having a great time but there was this one boy named Billy, who was overweight, that hated the sporting events because he just couldn’t compete. On the last day of camp, came the event that he dreaded most of all. It was the relay race. They had to run all the way around the track before passing the baton and he knew that he could run very fast and he would be out of breath before getting half way around.

The others on the team decided to make him run first so the fastest kids could finish the race. The horn sounded and Billy started running. Within in a few seconds he was already way well behind the others. His team yelled at him, others laughed at him, and by the time Billy got half way around the track he started walking. He just couldn’t take being ridiculed anymore.

One of the counselors saw what had happened and ran out to Billy, put his arm around him and said, “I know you can do it. I’ll run with you.” And I’m sure said some other encouraging words to him.

With that Billy picked up the pace, the other counselors told the other kids to cheer for him and encourage him. Soon Billy stepped it up a little more. He never ran very fast but he finished the course with tears in his eyes and the others cheering for him and clapping their hands. Some of the other kids were also crying because they saw first hand the power of their words.

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