Is it difficult to find joy in today’s world? The evident evil in world events could easily be seen as an obstacle to joy. But is that true? Since there has always been evil in the world, how have previous generations of believers found joy? How do you find it?
Joy In Remembrance
The Bible’s ‘Joy Manual‘ is the book of Philippians. Paul’s opening words have given insight (and more) to Christians for centuries:
I thank my God in all my remembrance of you.
I have had another opportunity to thank God for people in my life. But it was just the latest in the routine opportunities I have. Sharing some of my opportunities will probably bring similar thoughts to your mind.
First, there are many people in our area who know us and pray for this ministry. These people often come to mind because I see them, speak in their churches, and meet them in day-to-day business. Some have served as mission volunteers. And that includes some who attend the church where I serve as pastor. When I see them, it brings to mind the things they and/or their churches have done to engage in sharing the Gospel. But there are many I don’t see very often and others of which I am unaware!
My second routine remembrance is the contribution receipt letters we send to those who financially support this ministry. Each letter is an opportunity to thank God for people who engage in this way clicca qui. But that remembrance changes. Let me explain.
God has blessed this work of Equipping For Life. One measure of His blessing is the years of fruitful ministry that so many Helping Hands have made possible. But that circle of hands changes. I can look back and remember those who have now gone on ahead. Today, that number includes mission volunteers, contributors, and even pastors we have been blessed to equip and work alongside. The routine chore of updating mailing lists and giving records is sometimes bittersweet. We miss the fellowship of those who have meant so much and yet there is joy in knowing we will see them again!
Joy In Prayer
The next comment Paul made in his letter to the Philippians was:
In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy…
Paul remembered the lives and service of fellow believers and the result was gratitude in prayer. And Who is the focus of prayer? It’s our Father, of course. So the actions of others caused things to come to the forefront of Paul’s memory.
When they came to mind, Paul prayed for them (Philippians 1:5). Why? Because they were participants in the Gospel. Too many church and ministry leaders view ministry as something focused on themselves. Paul didn’t see it that way. He saw each person he remembered as an essential fellow-laborer in the work to which God had called him.
Even so, Paul didn’t overly focus on the people. He focused his attention on the One Who was at work in each of them. We know that because of verse 6:
For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
Joy In Recent Events
- Family members
- Ministry supporters
- Long-time friends
- People not currently engaged with this ministry
Everything done for the King and His Kingdom will last forever!
That is a cause for joy! I can see God at work in my friends, family and fellow-laborers. And we know God is a rewarder of those who seek Him and serve Him. When I see their service I can be grateful for what they have done AND I can anticipate with JOY the rewards they will receive. Nobody can take that kind of joy away!