November 11, 2007
". . .for the joy of the LORD is your strength." Nehemiah 8:10
Not so long ago, I was able to speak at the LCMS Michigan Professional Church Workers Conference. At the end of the first day, even before we were wearing our name tags, Pam commented, “Everybody here is so friendly. They don’t know who I am and they’re smiling at me.” Congratulations, Michigan!
Smiling doesn’t come easily to some people. Some of you may remember the 1994 Olympic games, which took place in Lillehammer, Norway. Actually, I don't remember much about the games, but I do know, that before the games started, many of the Olympic employees had been training with "smile holders."
"What's a smile holder?" you ask. It's a mechanical device that slips on your head and has clips, which attach to the corner of your mouth. By pulling on a strap, it forces your face into a brilliant smile. Since the planners of the games wanted to make sure that their staff wouldn't look standoffish when the world arrived, they encouraged people to practice smiling with their smile holders.
At first, I thought the idea was really strange. I guess I still do. But it does show the importance of a smile.
It also shows that most people usually need an outside source to encourage them to smile. As a Christian, I consider myself very fortunate. The Lord has not only given me a loving family and children –one of the greatest natural sources of smiles, He has also given me a Savior who is with me in troubled times, and laughs with me in the good. The forgiveness He has won for me, the eternal life He assures me, is guaranteed to cause a smile.
I'm not alone in this. At least I shouldn’t be. If you take a good look at your life, you may find a great many God-given reasons for smiling.
So, in a strange sort of way, I guess my prayer for you may be this: “May God’s love give you a natural, a joyful smile in Jesus.”
From a devotion originally written for "By the Way"
THE PRAYER: Dear God, I rejoice in the knowledge that You have given me a Savior who is with me in troubled times and laughs with me in the good. Thank You for all the blessings You have given me. In Your Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries