Nothing Much Really

September 20, 2019
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Romans 12:21 – Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (NIV)

It was nothing much really, just a smile and a wave. Yet, I'll never forget it. That hot day, we were driving through one of many construction zones on our trip. Traffic had been reduced to a single lane with long waits. My eye was drawn to one particular flagman. I watched him acknowledge each passing vehicle with a warm smile and a wave. I felt especially uplifted when we received our own personal wave.

Here was a flagman who used his mundane job assignment to bless drivers as they continued on their journey. He didn't need to do that. It was certainly not in his contract; there'd be no extra pay for this. It was simply who he was. Yet, what potential this had!

By uplifting passing drivers, this flagman had exercised his right to be who he was. That's one privilege of living in a free country. Here in North America, we are free to bless others as we wish to — even if it's just a smile and a wave.

However, that's not easy under repressive political regimes where the people are controlled through severe intimidation. Those folks can't smile. Life is too burdened with fear and suspicion. Furthermore, smiling could be risky. I once heard the testimony of a Christian who lived during Soviet communism. If they smiled at people, he noted, someone might suspect that they were Christians and report them. In such anti-God lands, Christians are among the few who can freely smile because they are not overcome by evil. In Christ, they know that they are set free by the power of love. They are free to overcome evil with good — like a subtle smile.

A smile and a wave are nothing much really; but for some, it could give away their identity and even cost them their lives. For those of us living in the land of freedom, such a possibility seems remote. Still, this reminder can renew our appreciation for small, ordinary gestures, specifically those which convey a big, extraordinary message, namely, "You matter!"

That's what every soul craves to know deep down — regardless of their life context.

Prayer: Dearest Lord, sensitize us to the power of those simple gestures of love, both in receiving them and in giving them. We give You the glory, for You are the ultimate source of love. Amen.

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Diane Eaton <>
Paisley, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Amen Diane!

    Great reminder, Diane.

    So true. Thank you for a strong start to my Friday morning.

    Thank you, Diane, for sharing this devotional with us. Blessings.

    Thank you, Diane, for a precious message of love.
    Keep writing.

    Thank you, Diane for encouragement to use whatever we have for the Lord.

    What a great devotional, Lynne! Thank you so much for sharing this message!

    Yup. So true! Try it in the supermarket, bank, wherever you are! Changes the atmosphere around you. People relax and go about their business in a happier frame of mind. So cool.

    Thank you, this resonates with me as I always smile at strangers and in most cases am rewarded with a return smile.
    God bless, I always love your postings.

    Dear Diane,
    Thank you for pointing out our freedoms to do “nothing much, really.” It is such a privilege that we don’t always realize. Imagine. A kindness that has potential to get one imprisoned! To live in a location where we can smile at others is such a blessing to the smilers and the smiles.

    Good morning Diane and to all the PresbyCan Daily Devotional Staff!! I’m sending you my smile and thanks for your inspiration. Even today’s Music Trust and Obey is appropriate; Not a shadow can rise, Not a cloud in the skies, But His smile quickly drives it away; Not a doubt nor a fear, Not a sigh nor a tear, Can abide while we trust and obey.
    Thank you all!!

    Good morning Diane.
    So true, a smile goes a long way at all times. I am going to a weekend of meetings with Christian women, but have a struggle with one, this reminder of smiles will certainly help me through the rough moments, again thank you.
    Do have a great day and may you see many smiles.

    Greetings Diane,
    Many thanks for your devotional today. Yes, sometimes it is the smallest of gestures that can raise a person’s hope and truly giving someone a smile takes so little effort. We are fortunate to live here in a land where we have the freedom to share a smile and our faith in our Lord.
    Blessings to you.

    Good morning Diane,
    Thank you for sharing how important a smile can be to others. It also makes the one smiling feel better. I didn’t know that about Christians in the Soviet Communism time and it is always helpful to learn what others have been or are going through. It increases our gratitude for this great country we are blessed to live in. Wishing you a great day with the wonderful weather that God is providing this last week of the official summer. Smiling with you.

    Several carloads of us were going tandem to Georgia to a conference. We got to the border and as the car ahead of us got through we waved at them. Immediately all of us in our van were taken in, our passports taken, and had no idea what we did wrong.
    Finally, a superior came to us and asked us why we were there. We said we do not know. He said we were cluttering up the space. One of our group said if you give us our passports we will leave. We finally got away about 4 hours later. Later we asked our MP if he knew if there was an incidence, but he never found anything.
    After that we do not smile or acknowledge anybody when crossing the border.

    Thank you for your meaningful devotion. I have made a point of smiling and waving at all flag persons, so often they are surprised. Many drivers are grumpy and make rude or impatient faces at flaggers because they resent the interruption in their day. It lifts me up to see their surprise when I smile and wave, and frequently they return the gesture.
    These folks are out there in the blazing sun and pouring rain, doing a mostly thankless job.
    I have a friend who was in communist Germany years ago. Neighbors did not talk or smile because folks were encouraged to spy on their neighbors and turn in suspicious behaviour, no one trusted anyone, a very sad way to live.
    Again, thank you for the insight and blessing!

    Good Morning, Diane!
    As usual, your devotion message is most interesting. I can’t say that I have met any flagmen (flag ladies??) who wave as I pass through the construction areas, but I tend to wave to them. How boring it must be to stand in the hot sun, cold rains, and dry dust all day! I always hope it gives them a lift to receive a wave and a smile.
    Many people in the service sectors of life receive financial ‘tips’.
    A wave and a smile are the tips we can provide for being safely guided on our way. AND who knows? It may earn us a smile and wave in return. We then feel better, too.
    Yes, each one of us matters!

    Good morning Diane,
    Good devotional. A friendly smile is so encouraging isn’t it. I should add that in the summer of 1951 I was a flagman on a paving project. We did not have phones to talk to the other person. We had a stick, gave it to the last car to go through and he would hand it to the guy at the other end. It looks like an easy job, it is BORING!!!!

    Diane, how powerful a simple smile is! I know from personal experience how uplifting it is for me to receive a smile from a random stranger. Thank you for sharing this message.

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