I wanted to shout in the midst of a busy mall, “Oh please go find joy!” I had a little over an hour to wait for my next appointment. Someone had told me I’d like a coffee place just outside a local department store. I easily located the shop and found a comfy chair to recline in and read my book about Israel. Yet, my focus continued to be pulled towards the shoppers speeding by with a cell phone in one hand and packages in the other. I found myself staring and realized how few faces displayed contentment or joy. This fast paced place left me wondering about the intensity of the shoppers-was it because they couldn’t find what they were looking for? Or spent too much money? A cold front had suddenly moved in and pushed any promise of springtime away, was that the cause of the joyless and stern faces? Whatever the cause it troubled my spirit.
Perhaps I should ask for forgiveness ahead of time. You see this same emotion sweeps over me every time I transition back into my seat in society after a stent in Africa. Something in me always wants to shout out to slow down and enjoy a slower paced life-to not miss where true riches and joy are found. I decided to exercise self-control and restrained from shouting to strangers what my heart wanted to remind the mall shoppers. My thoughts wandered back to a week earlier in Africa when I was sitting outside beginning to work on a sermon for Easter Sunday. I was seated outside the Gazebo at Beautiful Gate and found myself distracted by the sounds of saws and singing.
The power saw buzzed as the team carefully placed planks of wood together to create a play-set for the children. Despite the rain the adults and teenagers continued to build in the midst of a muddy mess. There was no complaining just a joyful determination to get the job done. The saws and drills became the background music for the laughter and singing that was coming out of one of the baby houses where playgroup were taking place. The combination of building and singing were a symphony of praise that covered the campus with Kingdom Joy. Who would have thought such a combination would produce such melodious praise!
As my phone buzzed with a text I was brought back to Colorado, back to the bustling mall, and battling for my own joy. During the next few days I felt the Spirit whisper to me, “Go find joy right where you are!” One of the scripture texts the Spirit used was from Matthew 25:21-46. This is the story of the sheep and the goats, where Jesus points out to us where ultimate joy is found. For the next few weeks I want to uncover some of the truths in this text that help us “Go Find Joy!” So if you have a few minutes ponder this passage and ask the Spirit to help you take a journey to lasting joy.