There's something very special about a smile.
To look at a friend, neighbor, or even stranger and turn up the corners of your mouth. This tiny action can lifts spirits that were crushed. It can breathe life into someone who has given up hope. It can even become a light that has been lacking for so long.
The world needs more smiles.
I live in the northeast of the US and if you've ever been to our little portion of the world, you know that friendliness is not what we are known for.
I remember being down in Florida a few years back with one of my best friends. We were taking a long walk down one of the palm tree lined streets when a car drove by a waved. With a great big smile on my face, I waved back. My friend then proceeded to ask me if I knew that person, since we were out-of-towners. To which I replied, "Nope. Just being friendly."
Yep. We're not really known for our sweet hospitality up here. There's not a whole lot of going out of one's way for a stranger. We're actually pretty good at placing our heads down and walking on past without a bit of acknowledgement.
But there's something to be said about taking that extra moment to smile. To stopping in the check out line of the grocery store to truly see how the person behind the counter is doing. To exchanging those few extra sweet words that someone may need to hear.
I know we all get busy with life. Trust me when I say that's me, a thousand times over. There is so much on our plates that we forget the real reason we're all here to begin with. And that's to engage with people, build relationships, and bring hope to those around us.
There were definitely moments in Jesus's ministry when he was bogged down to the max by people. Imagine Him walking through the streets trying to get from point A to point B, He's got a ministry gig to get to, He has work to be done. And the crowds of thousands are following after Him the entire time.
In Matthew 19:13-15, this exact scenario is happening. Jesus is trying to get to His next teaching location and a bunch of parents come to Him so that He will pray for their children. The disciples, knowing that Jesus is on the move, scold the parents.
But Jesus turns to his disciples and says, "Don't stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children." Then He takes the moment to bless them before He heads out on His way.
He knew that although He was on a mission, His real mission was to simply bless the people. To show them what love and truth and grace truly looked like. He did not allow His busy schedule to interrupt a moment to bless His people. (And give them a great big smile)
I wasn't there when Jesus walked on the earth, but when I try to picture it, He always has a great big smile on His face.
Who do you know that could benefit from a special smile just from you?? Go on out there and smile bright, shine your light, and let people know just how much they are loved!