The value of a smile
A pastor tells of being in a church for twelve years. He had a custom during Sunday morning service of calling the children forward just before his sermon so that they could go to a ‘children’s church’ especially for them. The children would march past the pulpit and he would make it a point to smile at each of them. In return he received smiles. ‘It was one of the high points of the service for me,’ he recalled. But one day he apparently missed smiling at a child. A four-year-old girl ran out of the line and threw herself into the arms of her mother, sobbing as if her heart was broken. After the service he went to find out what happened. The mother explained to him that her child had said, ‘I smiled at God, but he didn’t smile back at me!’ The pastor reflected, ‘To that child I stood for God. I had failed with my smile, and the world went dark.’ Just like the pastor, we have the opportunity to reflect God to everyone we meet. And our encouragement could be something as simple as a smile. Job experienced more troubles in a year than most of us will experience in a lifetime. But though he was down, he lifted others. Though he was in despair, he encouraged others. How did he do it? ‘They longed for me to speak as people long for rain…When they were discouraged, I smiled at them. My look of approval was precious to them’ (vv. 23-24 NLT). We might think there’s little value in a smile, but to someone who’s experienced only unkindness and thoughtlessness that day, a kind and encouraging smile could be very precious to them.
Think about the more mundane interactions you have with people, like ordering a coffee, paying for petrol, speaking to the dentist’s receptionist, etc. This week, whenever you have any of those interactions, try greeting the other person with a kind smile.
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