Each week when writing this column, with rare exception, I try to speak to issues that we face as God’s people and especially to those issues involving Oklahoma Baptists. While falling short many times, my intent is to offer insights that challenge, stretch, and confront us. Sometimes I feel the urge to step away from issues of our day and seek to encourage.

Such is this column.

Being a grandparent is awesome! As many of you know, a grandparent takes note of every small step of growth and achievement. It doesn’t take much to start telling the world about your obviously brilliant grandchild. Even the smallest act causes you to capture every warm body who will pause for even a second to listen to you extoll the incredible accomplishments of your grandchild.

Last week, we received a picture of our Lydia (21/2 mos.) smiling for the first time. Last night, we received a video of her smiling at the urging of her mother. You would have thought we had just won a million dollars. No, her smile is way better than a million dollars!

Seeing her smile made me think about the power of a smile. Few expressions bring more joy to those around us than a smile. A smile is contagious! It takes so little effort to break into a smile, but the results in the lives of others are huge.

“People watching” can teach you many things about human nature. If you observe people, you will find most of us look like we are carrying the weight of the world. Life is filled with so many burdens, struggles, and hurts. The people we encounter in the normal traffic patterns of life are many times walking through tough and pressing problems.

Standing before a congregation is eye opening. So many of us lack joy as we sing the great songs of Zion. Our faces reveal deep and abiding scars that life has brought our way. Joy, wonderful joy, is often suffocated by life’s trials.

Let someone offer a gentle smile and see how the mood changes. A clerk at a store smiles as you approach; your heart is warmed. A greeter at church smiles and shakes your hand; you feel welcomed. Your spouse or child walks through the door, or wife or mom smiles and opens her arms of love; you feel joy and security.

You can change the atmosphere of your office, home, classroom, or anywhere you go by offering a gentle smile to those you meet. With a smile, you will stand out in the crowd. People will be glad you walked by. You can bring a ray of sunshine on a cloudy day.

OK, so I have not taken on same-sex marriage, abortion, sin, or gambling in this article. Some will say this is a fluff column. So be it. I would suggest that what I am writing may impact others and yourself in significant ways. If you will practice smiling at others, you will find your heart will be lighter, and so will theirs.

First thing every morning, many times during the day, and the last thing at night, I sneak a look at my little Lydia smiling. My load gets lighter and my countenance brighter. You can have the same impact. So, I challenge you to give the world a smile each day!

PS . . . If you lead with a smile, you just might find people more willing to hear your testimony about Jesus.

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