In the 1980s Guy Dowd, a public school teacher and part-time pastor, was chosen to be “Teacher of the Year.” He earned a trip to the Whitehouse to meet then president Ronald Reagan, and he enjoyed many speaking engagements as a result of the honor. In his public addresses he talked about how encouraging it was to meet the president and be honored with an award.

For Dowd, though, life wasn’t always encouraging. He was awkward and overweight growing up. Because of this he was the recipient of many jokes and derisions. One phys ed coach made a point to belittle him in front of his entire class. How does a child like this find his way through the education system and into the oval office for a meet and greet with the president? The answer is in the form of another phys ed teacher. This coach would build up and encourage his students. Dowd recalls another failed effort to do any chin-ups as required by the curriculum. But instead of berating the young student, coach said, “Good effort, Guy. Good effort.”

It’s nice to be encouraged along the way, and some of the best encouragement comes from God Himself as he looks down on his children and says, “Good effort.”

 “Look, I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go.” (Genesis 28:15a)