Thursday, May 29, 2014
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We tend to remember people by what they are most known for. Like, if you're from an older generation, well they would know Sinatra's "Old Blue Eyes" or you might remember Bob Hope. He had a trademark song, "Thanks for the Memories." Or let's say, "Linus" what do you think of? Right, the blanket - he's known for that. That's his trademark. Of course you have a trademark too...something that the people you work with, the people you go to school with, remember about you. That's your trademark. If you're a follower of Jesus Christ, I know what your trademark should be, and it is so rare in our world today it's really noticeable. Didn't use to be rare, but it is now. And if you have it, you'll be noticed.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Trademark."
Our word for today from the Word of God is found in the life of the Old Testament character Nehemiah. He had been carried away in the captivity of the Jews and taken to Persia where he's now a servant. As a Jew, he had worked his way up into the Persian hierarchy. He was actually a servant to King Artaxerxes - cupbearer of the king, which meant that he sampled every meal and participated every time there was a mealtime. He was pretty close to the king. He was a man with a trademark. I think it ought to be every believer's trademark.
And we pick it up in Nehemiah 2. "In the month of Nisan in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes when wine was brought for him, I took the wine..." This is Nehemiah speaking in the first person, "...and gave it to the king. I had not been sad in his presence before, so the king asked me, 'Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill? This can be nothing but sadness of heart.'"
This little conversation, by the way, led to historic results. Nehemiah was able to talk about his burden for the walls of his city, Jerusalem, which had been torn down, and the king gave him the resources and the permission to go back and rebuild that city - the city of God - and really bring about part of the restoration of Israel in that day. It all started when the king said, "How come you're not smiling? I'm not used to seeing you like this."
You know what? Nehemiah was a man with big problems but a predictable smile. I mean, he's basically a captive. He's being treated well, but he is a captive in another country, he's been ripped away from home, he's got a tremendous burden - a problem he doesn't know how to solve in terms of the city of Jerusalem, but he's always smiling. You could always count on Nehemiah being the positive guy in the room. So, when he was down, it was an event.
How is it for you? I wonder when you are down, is that unusual? Does everybody take note? I wonder what kind of atmosphere you have around you? Well, I can tell you what. Around Nehemiah it was positive, it was radiant, it was happy. Later in this book, Nehemiah shared his secret. Here's what he said, "The joy of the Lord is your strength." Not the joy of your situation. A lot of times there's no joy in the situation but the joy of the Lord.
In our world smiles have been replaced by being "cool." You just don't see many smiles. Stand along the street, in a school hallway, in an office building. There are not many smiles. But if you can relax in the great plans of God for your life and stifle the sarcasm and the negativity, your smile could become a fixture where you work like it was where Nehemiah worked.
When it's tense, and late, pressured, fatigued, and worrisome where you are, watch what your smile can do. Let the joy of the Lord light up your life. Let it be your trademark, and it will light up all those stressed out lives of all those people around you.