July 7, 2014
Last week I saw an article on the internet entitled “6 things to never put in your dishwasher.” The list included “crystal, wooden spoons, gold plated anything, etc.” It occurred to me that there are likely many things that one should never put in a dishwasher so I decided to make my own list. Soooooooooooooo here it is:
10 Things you should never put in the dishwasher
Your prom or wedding dress
Your great grandfathers gold pocket watch
Cakes and cookies
Favorite family photos
Used kitty litter
No doubt there are one or two other items that might come to mind. Please feel free to send them to me. Maybe, just maybe I’ll include them in my next “ruminations.”
You get it right? I’m just having fun… Right? Well the truth is not everybody gets it all the time.
Years ago Ellen and I and our kids attended a minister’s family conference each summer. It was really formative in the life of my family in a very, very positive way. Each year one night would be devoted to skits and “entertainment” by pastors, their spouses and children. It was an evening of great fun and laughter. On occasion I took part in a skit. I can honestly say they were some of the most wonderful nights of my life. One year I was part of a conversation that took place the next day in a small group. One older (shall I say “sour-puss” pastor) was asked (not by me) what he thought of the skits. His reply, “There is no place for frivolity in the Christian faith.” Well that brought an end to the conversation! Seriously, “no place for frivolity?!?!” I remember thinking “Oh boy… I want him for my pastor…. NOT!”
I have never understood why some Christians live their lives as if they had just lost their best friend, or were recently diagnosed with terminal cancer. I don’t want to make light of those situations since they are real and painful BUT no one lives their entire lives with those circumstances! Is it possible to know Jesus and not know or express joy? I could be wrong but…. I DON’T THINK SO. It is called the “Good” News after all.
There is a great story of a young boy asking an older grumpy man in his church if he was happy. The older man replied in a gruff, stern voice, “Yes I’m happy.” The boy responded, “Well, maybe you should tell your face.” I have known many “Christians” over the years who needed to have a serious conversation with their face.
Don’t get me wrong… we all go through difficulties in our lives that cause us to be down, depressed, dejected or sad. But if we choose to live our lives in that state (and for most it is a choice) then there are serious faith issues that need to be addressed.
I don’t know if Jesus ever told a joke. And honestly I have no idea what humor even looked or sounded like in first century Israel. I do know this however… Jesus was fully human and fully divine, so his human “part”… well, it sort of had to laugh, don’t you think? I mean even with the pressure of redeeming all of creation on His shoulders it’s hard for me to think that he never laughed or chuckled. And joy? If we are commanded to have joy… it’s only because Jesus had it in abundance! Look in Galatians 5: 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness….
If you are a believer, then the Holy Spirit dwells within you. And if the Holy Spirit dwells within you then you must exhibit evidence of fruit of the Spirit… one of them being “joy.” Or maybe another way of looking at it. Want to know if you have the Holy Spirit in you? You will have the fruit of the Spirit.
Seriously… grumpy, nasty, always dejected, sad, gloomy, miserable people… Can they really know Jesus? Not the Jesus I know.
A few verses to consider:
Psalm 68:3 But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful.
Psalm 43:4 Then I will go to the altar of God, to God, my joy and my delight. I will praise you with the lyre, O God, my God.
Psalm 5:11 But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.
Psalm 126:3 The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.
Ecclesiastes 8:15 So I commend the enjoyment of life, because there is nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany them in their toil all the days of the life God has given them under the sun.
John 17:13 “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them.
Acts 13:52 And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.
There are many, many more verses that deal with “joy.”
So, what to do, what to do? I know this. We cannot make or force people to be happy. I have known too many well intentioned folks who have exhausted themselves trying to make someone happy who chose to live in misery. It just doesn’t work. If you are trying to make someone happy… please hear me… it doesn’t work! You can’t do it! Here’s a thought for those struggling to find joy and happiness. Read through the four gospels. Familiarize yourself with Jesus. Focus on what has been done for you by the Son of God. If you still choose misery, then there are deep issues that you need to address… probably with a professional. But for most of us, I think joy comes hand in hand with knowing Jesus.
P.S. I want to make it clear… I am not trying to oversimplify all of this. But I think for the vast majority of us (not everybody), joy is within reach.
So, send me your list of things to not put in the dishwasher. J