One day I found my 5-year-old son, Ben, sitting near the window basking in the sun. He was smiling from ear to ear. I said to him, “Enjoying a little sunshine, huh, Ben?” He turned to me and said, “Oh, Mama, it feels so good to sit in the sunshine! It is so warm and cozy. It makes me feel the way I do when I am with Grandma.” Wow! That left an impression on me. Even a little child realizes that people can be like the sunshine; they can be warm and inviting, making people feel accepted and special.
Did you know that your sunshiny attitude can be a powerful witness for Jesus? We live in a world that can be full of discouragement, and simply seeing the smile of a young person can bring a lot of cheer. There are many people that appreciate a happy, polite child.
Making people happy
I knew someone like that. I had a friend in middle school and high school named Delinda, who was one of the happiest people I knew. It seemed as though she was always smiling and doing kind things for others.
I had the privilege of working with her one summer at a local hospital taking care of the grounds. It was our job to keep the gardens looking beautiful. We took care of the flowers by weeding and watering them carefully. Often patients or other guests would come out and sit in the gazebo to enjoy the flowers and fresh air. The gazebo was in the middle of the courtyard where we worked and was a nice change of scenery from the inside of a hospital room.
One day, as we worked, Delinda noticed that lots of people looked sad, tired, or worried.
“Wow, there sure are a lot of sad people here at the hospital,” said Delinda.
“You’re right, I wish there were something that we could do to help them feel better,” I responded.
“I know! What if we make it our goal to see how many people we can get to smile?” Delinda sounded excited.
“How are we going to do that?” I replied.
“Well, I don’t know. Maybe we just need to smile ourselves, or maybe we could say hello or have a short conversation with them,” she replied.
“All right, that sounds fun! Challenge accepted!” I laughed.
Making people smile
We started right away, trying to make eye contact with guests as much as possible while still doing our work. We worked in the courtyard, then moved to the beds near the front of the hospital. Then we ended up over by the Emergency Room entrance. Throughout the day we had fun seeing many people smile. Sometimes all we had to do was smile. Other times we had short conversations before we saw a smile. We lost count of how many people smiled, but it was such a fun way to pass the time.
Was it a big thing we did? No. Not really. We hope it brought a little cheer to the patients and their families, but we don’t know the effect it had other than to see several smiles in return.
Just something as simple as a sunshiny smile can make a big difference. It will help show people that those who follow Jesus are happy and cheerful like Him. Your cheerfulness can reflect what 2 Samuel 23:4 says: “And he shall be like the light of the morning when the sun rises, a morning without clouds, like the tender grass springing out of the earth, by clear shining after rain.” I don’t know about you, but there tend to be a lot of clouds where I live, and when the sun shines, it brings me so much joy! How cool would it be to be like the sun shining without clouds, bringing joy to those around you!
I teach Sabbath School, and we sing a children’s song that you might know. The words are: “This world is needing smiles, the smiles that we can give; the cheery, sweet, and helpful smiles, where we work and live. So, S-M-I-L-E, S-M-I-L-E, this is what the world is needing—S-M-I-L-E.” It’s true: this world needs more smiles—your smile!
As Delinda and I worked among the flowers, it was not just the fragrance of the beautiful flowers we were working with. We were also sharing the fragrance of God’s love with the small acts suggested by my friend. Those small acts of kindness warmed the hearts of others, just as the warm rays of the sunshine reminded Ben of his grandma’s love. What about you? What are some ways that you can cultivate cheerfulness and be a witness for God? Ask the Lord to help you find ways to not only shine like the sun, but shine like THE SON—Jesus.