Blessing

When I was attending university one of the things God taught me was the simplicity of blessing others.

As I travelled on the bus and waited in long library line-ups, I noticed how grumpy people were. And I noted that grumpy-ness leads to its own reward—it causes others to be grumpy with me. The librarians always acted like they were ready to rip people’s heads off—and as I listened to my fellow students I couldn’t really blame them much—the students were demanding, argumentative and bullying.

I had a sign on my desk at the time that said: If you have the joy of the Lord in your heart then please notify your face. And then, as I was doing my devotions one night, I came across the following Bible passage: "A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance" (Proverbs 15:13a).

As I prayed that night, I felt challenged to live out what I thought that verse meant. I decided that the first witness I could actually put into place was to smile at people—and try to bless them as they served me instead of either ignoring them or being impatient with them.

So I started that morning. When I got on the bus I paused, smiled at the bus driver, and asked him how his day was going. When I got through the library line-up I smiled at the lady, asked how she was, and politely made my request. Then I thanked her and told her to have a nice day.

Nothing much happened at first; but as I kept doing this the bus drivers and librarians started to smile back at me; then they’d smile when they saw me coming; then they were wishing me well. The real blessing happened about two months after I finished university. I was enjoying a weekend at my parents' cottage and there on the beach was one of the librarians. We greeted each other with a hug—and as we chatted she said, "Tell me why it is you were always so cheerful; always so happy to see us." And I was able to tell her about the hope I have in Jesus. I was able to tell her that the happiness she saw on my face was caused by the joy I have in my heart.

I continue to remind myself to do this today—my first witness is to be nice to gas station clerks, grocery store cashiers, waitresses, receptionists and others. God has to remind me—and give me a kick in the butt some days—because some days its just easier to be grumpy. But I’ve come to deeply care for many of the people in my life who I see only in passing—the clerk at the vegetable store, the receptionists at the chiropractor’s office, etc. As I try to bless them with at least nice-ness, I find that I am so much more blessed in return.