Mother Theresa was asked what the job description was for anyone who desired to work alongside her in the slums of Calcutta. Without hesitation she said just two things:
1. The desire to work hard, and
2. A joyful attitude.
Bad news, long faces and heavy hearts plague our society and the church included.
The majority of the lyrics of popular music promote misery, sorrow and despair.
Our electronic media has its heartbeat on tragedies and catastrophes, lost jobs and horrible accidents.
Even the way our weather reports are delivered reflect this, with attentions to storms and droughts. The forecast is usually partly cloudy with 20% chance of rain. It is never mostly clear with an 80% chance of sunshine!
The church seems to be living under a blanket, a pall of heavy hearts today where you need to search for happiness and the sounds of laughter.
The Bible tells us that JOY is the gigantic secret of the Christian.
But Keith, you might be thinking, under today’s circumstances and events how can I be anything but grim?
The Bible’s answer to that question theologically and literally is “What are we doing UNDER the circumstances?”
For isn’t the Christian life to be lived ABOVE the circumstances?
Maybe you today are a member of the “if only” group.
You would have joy, if only you had more money, …if only you had more talent…..if only you had better looks……if only you could find a more fulfilling job.
Listen carefully – just as more money never made anyone generous, and more talent never made anyone more grateful, more of anything never made anyone more joyful!
Our Sunday school kids sing a song, which is loaded with theology:
“Joy is the flag flown high from the castle of my heart, because the King is in residence there!”
We are in need of a joy transfusion.
Paul’s confidence was supreme in God.
To Paul, God was in full control of everything.
If hardship came, God permitted it.
If pain dogged his steps, it was only because God allowed it.
If Paul was under arrest, God still remained the sovereign director of his life.
If there seemed to be no way out, God knew he was pressed.
If things broke open and all pressure was relieved, God was responsible.
The lesson – God is no distant deity, He is a constant reality and a PRESENT help in time of need.
So now I am to live like it! Joy!
An 82-year-old believer was reading the Book of Philippians when the penny dropped – he could choose to be the sad sack or a man of God filled with joy. He asked God to give him the gift and blessing of joy as he knew Jesus had said in John 15:11 I want to give you My joy so that your joy may be complete!
God gave it to him because he chose to have it. He could not stay home so he went out to eat at the local hamburger restaurant. The waitress came over to his table and asked him “How are you doing?” He said, “Oh, I am wonderful!” “Is it your birthday?” she asked. “No it’s better than that!” “Your anniversary?” “Better than that!” “Well what is it?” she asked excitedly. “It’s the joy of Jesus. Do you know what I am talking about?” The lady shrugged and answered, “No, I have to work on Sundays.”
You either choose joy or you don’t.