Rejoicing With Gladness Of Heart
Richard W. Terry
An old boy "down home" was caught on his roof top. One of his neighbors came floating by on his house. In the dire state of affairs he quipped, "John, this flood is just awful, isn't it?" John replied, "No, it's not so bad." The neighbor somewhat surprised, retorted, "What do you mean 'it's not so bad?"' "Why, there goes your hen house floating down stream." John simply replied, "Yeah, I know, but six months ago I started raising ducks and there they are, everyone of them just swimming around. Everything is going to be alright." "But, John, this water is going to ruin your crops," the neighbor persisted. Still undaunted, John replied, "No, it's not. My crops were already ruined and just the last week the county agent told me my land really needed more water, so this solved that problem." The pessimist tried one more time to get his cheerful friend. He added, "But, John, the water is still rising. The first thing you know, it's going to be up to your windows." Grinning wider than ever, our optimistic friend replied, "Man, I hope so, they're powerfully dirty and need washin'."
In the world there are two kinds of people. The "I can do it, I'll give it my best, if at first I don't succeed, I'll keep trying" and the "It can't be done, so there's no use in trying. " Likewise, in the church, we have two types of Christians, winners and losers. The "winners" are those Christians enjoying their Christian experience to the fullest, while the "losers" are miserable and like the fellow in our story, can't seem to find anything good about life.
The "loser" views. his Christian experience like a prison sentence-something to be served, reluctantly, but never enjoyed. While the "winner" sees his or her life as a Christian as abounding with opportunities and blessings to be enjoyed. Matthew records Jesus' sermon - the early portion of that sermon has been called the "B" attitudes or blessing attitudes. The word translated "blessed" means "happy, " so Christians should be happy people. With an of the misery that existed in that day and age, Jesus told them nine times of happy experiences that could be enjoyed as a Christian.
1. Happy are the poor in spirit.
2. Happy are they that mourn.
3. Happy are the meek.
4. Happy are those that hunger and thirst after righteousness.
5. Happy are the merciful.
6. Happy are the pure in heart.
7. Happy are the peace makers.
8. Happy are those who are persecuted for Christ's sake.
9. Happy are those ridiculed for the cause of Christ.
Then Jesus told those people to do something that seemed almost incredulous in the face of mounting opposition. He said, "Rejoice, and be exceeding glad."
Christianity is a rejoicing religion. Our songs, our prayers, every fiber of our being should resound with praise and rejoicing for the wonderful love of God that is spread abroad in our lives. Texts like Romans 5:2, "Rejoice in hope of the glory of God," or Philippians 4:4, "Rejoice in the Lord, and again I say, Rejoice," or Philippians 3:1, "Finally, my brethren rejoice in the Lord," all stand as testimony to the glorious joy of being a "child of the King."
When we think of what God's blessings mean to us, when we think of how lost we were before we came to know Jesus, when we think of all that God does for us, why should we be sad or disappointed? The Psalmist David wrote in Psalm 36:8, "They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house. Thou shalt make them drink of the rivers of thy pleasure." Again in Psalm 118:24, "This is the day which the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it." Further in Psalm 34:10, "They that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing." Finally, in Psalm 37:4 David writes, "Delight thyself also in the Lord and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart." Paul wrote in Ephesians 3:20, "Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us." Did you catch that last statement? God is able to do more than we ask or think "according to the power that worketh in us." There isn't anything that God has asked us to do that we can't do. Why? Because God gives us the "power" to accomplish it.
It is sad, but some Christians leave the impression that they were "weaned on a pickle." They're not "happy" in the Lord unless they are sharing their misery with others.
I am convinced that millions of people today are not sharing my joy and happiness in being saved and happy to ten about it, because some Christians have the "long-faced, poor suffering little me, self-sacrificing, tell-everybody all my troubles" type of attitude about being a Christian; they act like their second birth was just as painful as their first one was to their mothers. God has not called us to misery, grief and woe. He called us to joy and peace and happiness.
Friends, our joy of being a Christian should be reflected in the way we say "Hello." After all, when we die we're going to Heaven; why shouldn't we be happy? Brethren, we are rich beyond words with the grace of God and His abundant mercy and blessings. "Rejoice, and again I say rejoice."
Guardian of Truth XXIX: 6, p. 176