Why the “Smiling Maven”?

‘Maven: a person who has special knowledge or experience; expert {Yiddish meyvn < Hebrew מבין }’3   ‘An expert or connoisseur; someone with profound knowledge of a subject.’4 A maven is someone that you go to with a question (on a particular subject) in the expectation that he will have an answer.  In practice a maven is often well-versed in a number of subjects.   To consider oneself as a maven may be an indicator of pride.  I have some experience and expertise in a number of areas, a jack of all trades and master (or maven) of none.   Yet there is one thing that I am increasingly convinced to excel in.   It is an area that I believe the Lord wants me to become a maven.  That subject or topic is grace.

The Apostle Paul told Timothy “Be strong in the grace that is in Messiah Jesus (2 Timothy 2:1).  There are many good definitions of grace, of God’s grace.  Here is one that I believe is an excellent working definition: the smiling face of God’s favor.  When God chose to send His son, the Messiah Jesus, to die for fallen humanity – He was not frowning upon us, he was smiling upon us.

There is a connection between grace in our lives and our capacity to smile. I don’t claim to smile enough.  I am not sure that I could consider myself an expert on grace.  Yet, I have experienced that the Lord is gracious.  He has smiled upon me.  In my darkest, my most unfaithful, my most run awayish, rebellious, complaining attitude, Jesus has been gracious to me.  By his graciousness to me, I can see God’s desire for this Jewish boy from New York to become a smiling expert on God incredible grace; To be a smiling maven for the true smiling maven (master) of the universe.

Why the Maven

(This article first appeared  in the first Smiling Maven Newsletter November 2005)

  1. American Heritage Dictionary (Houghton Mifflin Company 1985)
  2. Yourdictionary.com


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