January 7 (Ecclesiastes 2:26)
For to the one who pleases him God has
given wisdom and knowledge and joy…. (ESV)
Everyone experiences sadness, and even Jesus wept, but those who follow Christ do not need to stay there. In fact, to disregard the gift of joy is, well…consider the parable of the talents that Jesus told in Matthew 25. Jesus made it clear that God expects His people to use the gifts He has given them. We usually talk about this in the context of making full use of talents and abilities in the service of others, but this applies to all gifts, including the gift of joy.
One of the easiest things to do is complain. How often do you get drawn into gripe sessions at work? How often do you huff and puff about mundane responsibilities around the house? How often is your casual conversation filled with criticism about this, that, and the other thing? There is indeed much in the world that is wrong, and acknowledging it is often a first step to doing something about it. Yet going about your daily life mired in the complaints of the world? Not only does that make for a less than attractive witness to the Christian life, but it also cheats you of the pleasure of one of God’s gifts to you.
I whistle. I love to whistle. In fact, I can frequently be heard at work whistling a song, and when I am in the car or at home, well then it is time for full-throated singing! How do you unwrap God’s gift of joy? How do you play with it? Enjoying joy is one of the most delightful things we can do, and since joy is a gift from God, we are actually called to make use of it.
Lord, thank You for the joy You have put in my heart! I will sail it like a kite full of praises to You and wield it like a sword against the darkness that seeks to overwhelm me. In those moments when I cannot find joy, uncover it for me so that it may blaze forth in me and to those I meet. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.
Copyright © 2018 by Steven R. Perkins