You’ve heard of ‘camera’ smiles. Recently a very recognizable name flashed the warmest, happiest, and most welcoming smile one can imagine. “Genuinely thrilled to greet you on this stage! How wonderful to see you! My heart leaped with joy when you appeared. You have made my day.” Those are the words her smile seemed to be communicating. But less than a fraction of a second later those same facial muscles contracted into an obvious unpleasant-looking scowl. Cameras caught both expressions and it became a trending gif on social media.

Many centuries ago, a reigning monarch heard about King Solomon and just how wonderful everything was in his little slice of the pie of earth. The major news outlets and social media posts of her day were all reporting basically the same thing, and tweets like this one would have been common:

Although the Queen of Sheba was not too shabby herself in her own riches, this King Solomon was head and shoulders above all his contemporaries. This was profoundly intriguing to her. She arranged a state visit. From the time she climbed out of her royal chariot and her feet touched down on Solomon’s soil, she was wowed. She was amazed at the King’s words and wisdom. She had come fully equipped with challenging questions and even riddles to test the depth of Solomon’s wisdom and knowledge. She quickly learned it wasn’t a shallow facade. Solomon was incredibly smart, unbelievably wise, staggeringly rich, and a committed worshipper.

Breathless, she exclaims:

…I did not believe the words until I came and saw with my own eyes; and indeed the half was not told me. Your wisdom and prosperity exceed the fame of which I heard. Happy are your men and happy are these your servants, who stand continually before you and hear your wisdom! Blessed be the LORD your God, who delighted in you, setting you on the throne of Israel…” 1Kings 10:7-9

The Queen of Sheba was blown away by the smiles and the contentment of Solomon’s palace staff. They were so united and happy as they served their King each day. This seemed to be as convincing to her as Solomon’s wealth and wisdom.

Move forward a few centuries. Recall the occasions when men were commissioned by the authorities to attend gatherings where Jesus was speaking. They were there as fault-finders and evidence-gatherers to strengthen the case against Jesus. When they listened to His words – they marveled, admired, and wondered and returned home. (Matthew 22:22) Others returned to their bosses empty-handed and exclaimed: “No one ever spoke like this man.” (John 7:46)

But what about the disciples themselves? Sadly, in the presence of One infinitely greater than Solomon, there was griping, grumblings, whisperings, and jealousies.

What about me? When I am at the Lord’s Supper or a Bible Study – what vibes do I give off? Would anyone be impressed with the obvious joy I derive from my Christian responsibilities? When the cameras are off and I don’t think I am on display, how do I  look as the new cashier is slower than most processing my groceries?

How genuine is my smile in the foyer after a prayer meeting or in the community as I represent and serve my King? Is it merely pasted-on? Am I like the celebrity whose facial muscles contracted into a scowl in a heart-beat?

What is lurking beneath the surface of your life that robs you of joy, contentment, and happiness in serving your King? How long will you allow it to gnaw away inside? Are you among the happy palace staff or a stage actor when the cameras are rolling?

Happy are the people whose God is the Lord. Psalm 144:15

Serve the Lord with gladness. Psalm 100:2

“Lord, I am happy today because I serve the King of kings and Lord of lords. I am humbled to be in  Your royal service – as a member of the royal priesthood. I have no good reason to harbour bitterness in my heart or to grumble and complain about anything. I mean that Lord – about anything!  If I got what I really deserved, I would be banished forever to perish eternally.  I confess my sin. How richly You have graciously blessed me. Thank you, Lord. Today, my smile is genuine and deep. Help me to keep it that way.”

Walk carefully and closely with the Lord today,

Warmly in Christ
Peter Ramsay

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