Advent 3: Joy – Christa Leschert
It’s sort of a funny concept to be joyful. I used to think that to be joyful was the same as being happy. But I’ve since learned that you can be joyful without being happy 24/7. To feel joy is to feel great pleasure and happiness.
In the past, I thought I did so much for others but was constantly bitter about how little gratitude or recognition I received in return. Now, when I take time to look back, I find that I was always looking out for myself and being discouraged regularly because I felt I was under appreciated. It actually shows how much I was only looking inward and wasn’t ever doing acts of service for others out of a love that produces pure joy.
We need to remember that Jesus matters first, then others, and ourselves last. In doing so, we will receive sincere joy on earth and our rewards in full from Christ our Lord. In Galatians 6:9 Paul writes, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (NIV)
Humans are flawed and we cannot count on them to always do the right thing, but we what we can do is start with ourselves. Giving should be out of pure love for others and remembering that we will, and do, inherit our gifts from God, not from humankind.
I desire to give because I want to help those around me, not because I want something in return. Looking back and seeing how much I took for granted and how little I appreciated it all, I realize how important it is to change my view towards others. It’s my time to give without seeking reward, all the while not being sore about it because I never gave before.
We need to remember that Jesus, in Luke 6:35, commands us with joy to “love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.” (NIV)