November 21, 2017
A few days ago on my way to the hospital to see a church member I stopped at a local convenience store. I got one of their fountain drinks that are too big for any one mammal. Do you know what I mean? They advertise “same price for any size drink.” Well, I don’t NEED to get the largest “barrel sized” drink, but I guess my Scottish heritage compels me to do so. I mean, why would I get a medium sized drink that has more than enough pop in it when I can get an elephant sized one so that I have plenty to waste… all for the same price? Duh! Anyway, you know those cups that the drinks come in? They are plastic with a plastic lid that fits snuggly over the top of the container. Then you insert a straw into the cup through the plastic lid. “Easy peasy!” So I climbed into the car with my 3 gallons of carbonated drink and proceeded to drop the cup onto the floor of my van upside down. Miracle of miracles… not a drop came out. It literally landed on its top and not one drip or trickle of “good old Mountain Dew” was on my carpet. I picked it up with a sigh of relief and thanksgiving and began to suck on the straw… GUESS WHAT HAPPENED?! When the drink landed on its top the straw bent sideways and cracked so when I went to inhale my bucket of pop, the straw wouldn’t work! I was so aggravated! The straw was broken! It ruined my whole day. This by the way falls under the category of “Some people are NEVER satisfied.” Do you know what I mean?
Let me be clear here and say that some people have more than their share of hardship. However, for too many of us, we complain and moan about our lives when we have been nothing but blessed. Nothing! We all know people who answer the phone like they just lost their best friend… and that’s when they’re happy! And these are people who are part of the most blessed group of people who have EVER lived in the entire history of humanity. Blessedness and Joy are all wrapped together. Below are a few quotes from “The Life You’ve Always Wanted” by John Ortberg along with a few others.
“And I need to learn. Joy is at the heart of God’s plan for human beings. The reason for this is worth pondering awhile. Joy is at the heart of God himself. We will never understand the significance of joy in human life until we understand its importance to God. I suspect that most of us seriously underestimate God’s capacity for joy.”
“We will not understand God until we understand this about him: ‘God is the happiest being in the universe.’”
“The Bible puts joy in the nonoptional category. Joy is a command. Joylessness is a serious sin, one that religious people are particularly prone to indulge in.”
“How much damage have joyless Christians done to the cause of Christ?”
“To miss out on joy is to miss out on the reason for our existence.” -Lewis Smedes
“Joy is the serious business of heaven.” -C.S. Lewis
Please understand I am not implying that we ought to slap a smile onto our faces in the most dire of circumstances. That is just silly and naïve. But I think when folks remember us they ought to recall us as people of joy and gratitude. Not angry complainers and whiners who never seem to be grateful for anything. Or those who always find the negative in the midst of joyous occasions. Do you remember that at a time and place in history the SON OF GOD WENT TO A CROSS FOR YOU? DO YOU?
It is my hope and prayer that when you gather with friends and family tomorrow or in the weeks ahead that you exude joy and gratitude. Part of the benefit? It’s contagious!
Have a joy filled Thanksgiving!
Colossians 3:15 – Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.
Philippians 4 – 4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all.
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.
P.S. Do I need to mention that the first paragraph is written with tongue firmly implanted in cheek?