Hebrews 3:13, “Exhort one another daily”
I read a story sometime ago about a man who had become so despondent that he was going to take his own life by jumping off a bridge not far from where he lived. As he was walking toward the bridge, he decided that if he met just one person who smiled and appeared to be friendly, he wouldn’t jump. Strangely, the story ended without telling what happened, but the writer asked some very penetrating questions … suppose that man had passed you or me on that dark day:
(1) Would he have changed his direction?
(2) Or would he have carried out his desperate plan?
I know the chance of encountering an individual in that state of mind is very small. Yet, every day we come in contact with many people in diverse walks of life who are carrying heavy burdens, facing trying situations, or worrying about the future. They long for a kind word, a sympathetic ear, or a warm friendly smile that reflects a caring heart. I know of an individual who is always ready with a big smile that radiates the love of Christ. I believe he is the kind of person who would have caused that desperate man heading for the bridge to stop and turn around. Today, for Jesus’s sake and with a Christlike love, may we encourage people who are hurting by giving them a kind word and a friendly smile?
A mile from the finish line of the Boston Marathon, thousands of onlookers holding signs lined the route. When spectators spotted a family member or friend coming into view, they shouted the person’s name, waved, and yelled encouragement, “Just a little farther! Keep going! You’re almost there.” After running 25 miles, many competitors were barely walking and ready to quit. It was amazing to watch exhausted runners brighten and pick up the pace when they saw someone they knew or heard their name called out.
Encouragement! Everyone needs it, whether it’s a word or a smile, especially in our walk of faith. There are so many people in this world who feel discouraged, pressed in, cornered, unworthy, unlovable, or completely overwhelmed by the circumstances of their lives. You can make a difference in one moment by simply giving them a smile or a heartfelt greeting, which can energize the weary and be an encouragement to the lonely.
God’s eternal Word tells us to encourage one another and to build one another up. And you know what? It’s so easy to do this when you pass along a friendly smile. So, if you see someone without a smile today give them one of yours because it might just be what they need!
Even if you have nothing else to give, you can give a smile of encouragement.