Scripture Sunday: I've Got The Joy, Joy, Joy

I read a few years ago about a missionary team that worked in Jamaica for a couple of weeks. They had visited this poor country to spread the good news of Jesus Christ. One of the women that they worked with was asked later about her perception of Americans. I don't remember her exact quote, but I'll summarize the best I can.

"Americans have so much. They have more than most people in Jamaica could ever dream of having, but they do not have something that we do: joy. To have so much they worry about everything, they complain about everything, they are always in a hurry, and they never seem happy. I would rather be poor and have joy, than to be like the Americans."  

Do you think those missionaries were effective in reaching this woman? I don't think they were either. She could see that being a Christian had not impacted their lives with joy. Why would anyone want to be a part of that?!?!

I read this verse this past week from Psalm 4:7, "You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their gran and wine abound." And it made me think of that Jamaican lady, who realized that having true joy does not depend upon the amount of stuff you have. It should depend upon our walk with God.

But I know that you are thinking, "I'm not rich! I don't make millions of dollars a year." Compared to well over 90% of the world, you are rich. You have a house with more than one or two rooms. You have a TV, maybe 2 or 3. You have clean water that comes right into your home. You can walk into a store and have your pick of hundreds of food items. Even the poorest of our poor are wealthy.

When my husband was in India doing mission work, he asked his translator what he was saving up to buy. His translator's response was that he had always dreamed of owning a washing machine so he wouldn't have to wash his clothes in the river anymore. Are you feeling a bit more blessed now?

Since we, as Americans, are the "rich" of the world. Hopefully Jesus' words take on new meaning to us, "Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God." He's not talking about the Bill Gates' of the world. He's talking about you and me.

I know that there will be rich people in heaven, but Jesus' words should be a warning to all of us. Why is having wealth such a problem for our Christianity? Because as the Jamaican lady noticed, it takes away our joy in the Lord. We begin to take joy in our possessions, in our status, in our money, etc. When we place our joy in things of this world, we soon become a very miserable people.

Moses warned the Israelites of this exact problem, "And when the Lord your God brings you into the land...with great and good cities that you did not build, and houses full of good things that you did not fill, and wells that you did not dig, and vineyards and olive trees that you did not plant--and when you eat and are full, then take care or you will forget the Lord." (Deuteronomy 6:10-12a)

No one is going to want to listen to your message if you have no joy. We are a rich people and our joy in the Lord should be more than all of the wealth that we have. If it is not, listen to Moses and to Jesus, be careful or you will forget the Lord.

Joyous in the treehouse,


1 comment:

  1. Ouch! once again, you made me think dear friend! Love you and everything you have to say! :)