Thursday, October 27, 2011

Where's Joy?

“If you don’t find JOY in doing something, don’t do it” or how about “I quit because I didn’t find JOY in it anymore.”

I think it’s safe to say everyone has, in at least one situation or another, been told this or heard someone say this about themselves. I know I have. But I’m not sure if I neither understand nor agree with this way of thinking. If something is meant for us there will be JOY in it…sure, at times there will be JOY but can we expect it? Can we feel at ease in quitting by simple saying the JOY ran out?

The word JOY, feelings of JOY means many things. Pleasure, satisfaction, enjoyment, delight…. The definition that pulls on my heart strings the most is feelings of great happiness or pleasure, especially of an elevated or spiritual kind. I like that, I want that. But am I to expect that the things that I am doing or have committed myself to are to GIVE me that?

There are many things in life that we must do that this ‘find joy’ does not apply too, I’m pretty sure that most of us would agree to this. For some that would be work or visiting our in-laws or mowing our lawns or doing laundry. Not everyone finds JOY in those things but these things still need to be done.

I don’t think it’s ok to stop or quit anything until it’s finished or until I have worked in an exit plan. Do we think well of an athlete that quit during a game or before the season has ended? Is it ok for a parent to advise their child to quit or simply stop involving themselves in something they signed up for? Wouldn’t a group of friends be bothered if one of them said “yes, I'll do it” and then just let it slip by? With all three of these cases I’m still not seeing where the “if you don’t find joy, don’t do it” approach applies. When things get tough the tough get going, is what comes to my mind. And finish what you started. And when you make a commitment follow through and ask for help when it's need. Be fair to the rest of the “team."

I do understand that there are always changes in life. Situations change, believe me, I know the word CHANGE all too well these past months. As things change, there are always some things that must come to an end and if something is causing grief or sorrow a change could be needed and maybe over due. But don’t just quit or leave things unfinished. I hope whatever I would decide it is done so with everyone who is affected in mind. If that isn't accomplished, in those situations I can’t be surprised if someone affected has hurt feelings or is disappointed because it was my actions that affected that person anyways.

Most people would answer that the opposite of joy is grief or sorrow. But is that correct? If we look up 1 Peter 1:6 in the Bible, we read, “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials.” Here we see that grief and joy can be present in a person simultaneously, without problem. The sorrow in itself doesn’t need to spoil the joy. This is where I would like to say, “Nothing worth doing is easily done.” Joy comes from within one’s self, a satisfaction of doing and accomplishing something good.

If you are being weighed down by trials then please do yourself a favor and make a change. Whether that be a change in the things that you’re doing or the way you’re looking at these things. It is alright to make a change. It could be as simple as a change in perspective.

Welcome to a brand new week never lived in before w/ Pastor Paul

May we be found today gathering from our weekday routines and responsibilities, entering into a “restful few moments” where we prayerfully synchronize our walk with our Heavenly Father's heartbeat by studying His Word. May we enter into His presence, sharing in His love, learning His Word, doing His service, and resting in His fellowship. Blessings on you —Pastor Paul

Our Word for this week is: “good stewards”

Scripture Text: I Corinthians 4:7 (NAS)
“What do you have that you did not receive?”

Our Focus:
Our text today asks a good question: “What do we have that we did not receive?” Take honest inventory for a moment. What is original with us? Everything we have done and everything that we have came in some measure from someone’s grace and kindness. “What is good and perfect comes to us from God above” (James 1:17 NLT). If what we have was received from another’s kindness or generosity, then we have some obligation as well as accountability for what we do with it, and should evidence a genuine humility and gratitude about it.

It is easy to be confused about stewardship and ownership. It is easy and tempting to begin to think that what we have is ours, rightly earned and belonging only to us. We are owners of little, if anything at all. But we are stewards always of all that has been entrusted to us.

Jesus told several stories about stewardship, both good and bad examples. He told of a man who committed part of his wealth to his servants, and upon his return asked for an honest accounting of their stewardship on his behalf. They were rewarded according to their faithfulness and fruitfulness as stewards of what belonged to another. “To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who are unfaithful, even what little they have will be taken away” (Matthew 25:14-29).

Biblically speaking and by our experience as well, we learn that our lives are really just the product of the unmerited grace of God, and the graciousness of people. Anything that we have ever done was accomplished because of an opportunity that was given to us, or with the advantage of those who shared their knowledge and experience with us, or with the enabling assistance of those who gave a helping hand. We do not own even the success that we have enjoyed.

Job of the Bible seemed to understand this when he confessed, “I came naked from my mother’s womb, and I will be stripped of everything when I die. The Lord gave me everything I had . . . praise the Name of the Lord” (Job 1:23).

The Bible teaches that every man is a steward of the grace and goodness of God, and will ultimately account to God for how they have used their gifts for the Lord’s purpose and glory. “Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. It is required of a steward that one be found faithful” (I Corinthians 4:1-2). Stewardship is not an option; it is required and unavoidable both now and in eternity. Ownership is not a possibility; “The earth is the Lord and the fullness thereof, the world and they that dwell therein.” Psalm 24:1.

Live every day in full knowledge of the day when we will “give an account to God . . . with reason to do this joyfully and not with sorrow. That would certainly not be for [our] benefit” (Hebrews 13:17).

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Our prayer this week is that we use our gifts well and wisely, always serving. In Jesus name we pray. ~Amen


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