And it came to pass in the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was before him, that I took the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had never been sad in his presence before. Therefore the king said to me, “Why is your face sad, since you are not sick? This is nothing but sorrow of heart.” – Nehemiah 2:1-2
There are some lessons on attitude and carriage in this passage for our meditation. Nehemiah had heard about the devastation of Israel, his land of origin, and he was concerned enough about what he heard for his countenance to change from cheer to gloom. And, according to him, he had never worn a long face before the king before, so the king was naturally concerned seeing him in such mood.
The first lesson here is that Nehemiah might not have been appointed as cupbearer of the king if he was always with a gloomy face all the time. No matter how good he might have been as a wine-mixer, the sight of his long look would have disqualified him from being chosen to attend to the king; this thus underscores the importance of maintaining a cheerful countenance.
Secondly, even if Nehemiah had been given to forlorn expression and he had made it, against all odds, to become the king’s cupbearer because of his expertise, his depressed mood would have gone unnoticed by the king when it mattered most that fateful morning, and he would have continued to suffer in silence, getting agitated about happenings in his native land, but not having enough goodwill to do anything about it.
This underscores the importance of always wearing a cheerful expression and maintaining a positive outlook to life.
You will succeed in Jesus Name!