Be a Joy Giver
A Year-End Greeting from Washington Conference
This season of joy and celebration of another year serving God through mission and ministry prompts memories and stories from childhood.
One year when Doug was young, for example, he remembers eyeing a bigger-than-normal box under the tree with his name on it. He patiently waited through the opening of smaller gifts (like new shirts and socks) while hoping that the big box held his dream toy: a slot car race track.
Sure enough, the big box contained the dream toy! Young Doug was elated! His dad helped him set up the track, and they spent hours together playing with the slot cars and reshaping the track into creative shapes.
Soon the time spent with dad exceeded the value of the toy. Father and son would talk about track plans, dream up new challenges, and experience the joy of time together.
The joy associated with the conclusion of a year and the anticipation of a new year isn’t limited to families and friends spending time together. It happens within our churches, too. Our churches are supposed to be joy givers and joy defenders.
We see this play out in the story of Jesus preaching His last sermon in the synagogue (see Luke 13:10-17) where a woman with a history of 18 years of infirmities was in attendance. It likely wasn’t a happy time of life for her with debilitating pain running down her back. When Jesus called her out in the crowd, she may have thought that once again she would be ridiculed, snubbed, or cast out.
She wasn’t asking for healing. She wasn’t asking for joy. She was simply existing day to day. And yet Jesus brought her the joy of healing! Immediately the religious leaders questioned Jesus and why He was healing on the Sabbath in the synagogue. Jesus called them out for being hypocrites and stealing the woman’s joy. The biblical narrative says the adversaries were put to shame, and all the multitude rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by Him.
Church should be the most joyful place for people to come. Church should be the expander and defender of joy.
We encourage you as an individual, as a family, and as a school and/or church community to find ways to share the joy of Jesus in 2019. Reach out to your community. Make new friends. Expand your network of influence. Share the healing joy, hope and wholeness of Jesus.
Wishing you the overflowing joy of Jesus! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!