Just a Smile

My Facebook feed was filled with the news this morning.  No, it wasn’t a national disaster, or a school shooting or anything like what we’ve been seeing lately.
It was the news that our community had lost one of our “less fortunate.”
He was a simple man, with no earthly possessions.  He had no home, no bed, no vehicle.  Just his clothes, a guitar and a smile.
And yet the news of his passing had blown up my whole feed.
It all started when the fires forced our evacuation.  This gentleman was bussed to a nearby city, and then he seemed to vanish.  Some people would say they had seen him and talked to him.  But then, even after we all made it home, he never did.  There were search committees organized to go as far as 5 hours away from us.  It was spread on the news.  And we never stopped searching.
He was finally found, but not in the way we had hoped.
How is it possible that this one man had such an effect on our communities?
He didn’t donate thousands of dollars to those in need.  He was one of those we considered in need.
I believe it’s because, in a way,  he gave us everything he had.  He gave his time to those who wanted a friendly ear.  He had a smile for everyone who passed by.  He gave it all.
Chances are really great that whoever is reading this has no idea who I’m talking about.  But maybe you know something just like this man.  Someone who doesn’t have much, and yet continues to share themselves, because that is what they can do.
And maybe we can pay tribute to them by learning from their actions.  We can give of ourselves, even if it’s just to smile as everyone who passes by.  Maybe that’s all they need today, is to see a friendly face.
Friend, I don’t know what your community is like.  It could be a booming metropolis, or it could be the city that you pass by without really noticing.  I do know that you, and the other people around you matter.  What you have to contribute matters.  I know that many of us have a nasty little voice in our ears saying that what we can do is so small, why even bother.  And this gentleman is the perfect example of why.  Everything smile we share, every door we open, every meal we offer makes a difference.  And the ripple that spreads out of each of these efforts should not be underestimated.  That annoying little voice is the enemy, hoping to make us feel small and unimportant, so that we won’t do what we have been put here to do.  Love Jesus, and love others.  It really is that simple.
I pray today, that you listen to the voice of love.  The voice that offers truth to the value we all have, not because of the stuff we have, but because of what we can share.  I pray that we would walk in obedience to passing on the love we have been offered.  The only way to drown out the dark is with light.  With truth.  With love.

I think sometimes we get consumed with the thought that we can’t help because we don’t have enough.  We are short on funds.  Or we are short on time.  Or maybe we just don’t know where to begin.

Maybe, just like this beautiful soul learned, all it takes is just a smile.
I don’t know what challenges you are facing today.  I do know to some of you, those challenges are going to seem insurmountable.  I know that this gentleman certainly didn’t have it easy, but I do know that he managed to spread joy to those around him in the simplest of ways.  So I challenge you this week to find someone who needs nothing more than your smile, and give it to them.  It can’t hurt to try.
Heavenly Father, I thank you today that I was blessed enough to have met this man, and many others like him.  I pray that he is with you now, and that he knows the incredible impact he had.  And I pray that we would be inspired to remember that your love is ever present, and that it doesn’t need to be complicated or time consuming for us to show it to others.  Show us those around us that need just a smile, or maybe for someone to lend them an ear.  Open our eyes to those people, and enable us to remember that we are able to be the answer to their prayer, if only we would say yes.  In faith I pray.  Amen.

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