The Joy of the Lord

A man and his wife were having an argument about who should brew the coffee each morning.  The wife said, “You should do it, because you get up first, and then we don’t have to wait as long to get our coffee”.  The husband said, “You are in charge of the cooking around here and you should do it, because that is your job.”  Wife replies, “No you should do it, and besides it says in the Bible that the man should do the coffee.”  Husband replies, “I don’t believe that, show me.”  So she fetched the Bible, and opened the New Testament and shows him that it indeed says: “HEBREWS”.

Whether it’s your job to make the coffee at your house, I hope that brought a smile to your face.  We all have jobs to do.  Some are more enjoyable than others, but regardless there are things that have to be done.  My family used to enjoy watching a cable television show called “Dirty Jobs”.  The host of the show would be invited to a persons place of employment to participate in a ‘dirty job’.  Jobs like working in a sewer system, in a landfill, or a hog confinement.  Though the working conditions didn’t seem very pleasant to the average white-collared American, each person seemed to enjoy their job.

Several weeks ago at a staff meeting we were discussing our various jobs and schedules and Mike posed the question, “What brings you JOY in your area of ministry at ARC”.  Webster’s dictionary defines joy as a source of great happiness.  While there are many days of phone calls, visits, requests, and tasks that bring me great happiness and fulfillment, some days are not like that.  Some days begin with cranky voices and overflow with more grumbling than grace.  Some days abound with frustrations.  Some days are like those days your mother warned you about.  Now before the personnel committee starts panicking that I am writing my resignation letter, let me assure you that I love my job at ARC!  I thank God that he has led me to this position and I hope to be here for many years to come!  But quite honestly if my joy depended on being an employee at American Reformed Church, some days would not be very joyful!  The joy that I get from working in the church office doesn’t depend on my dealings with people, or the building in which I work, or the tasks that I perform, but purely from my relationship with God and service to Him.

So, what brings you joy?  Is your happiness anchored to a new boat, bundled up with a baby, deposited with a paycheck, or married to a perfect mate?  Do you live a joy-filled life even in the midst of dirty jobs and mundane tasks.  The writer of Hebrews tells us that for the JOY set before him, Jesus endured the cross (12:2).  Can you imagine a dirtier job than that?  The creator of the universe was now subject to his own creation.  Yet His connection to the Father was his source of joy.  In John 15:11 He says, “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.”  The joy that we are to have as his disciples isn’t something that comes and goes, it is constant; it is meant to remain.  It isn’t dependent on circumstances or possessions, it is only because of Him.  So the next time you roll up your sleeves and are ready to dig in to whatever job is before you, don’t focus on the work that you are doing, but who you are working for.  Romans 15:13a  May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him.

The Joy of the Lord is my strength,  Erin



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