I’ve been in Minnesota for almost a week, haven’t seen the sun, have seen some great friends, will see some family and have had a chance to drink coffee at my favorite coffee place, Caribou. I miss my family and can’t wait to see them on Tuesday. In the meantime, I am reading, writing, praying, talking and listening. Last night, I reconnected to one of my best childhood friends. Chris and I go way back. We shared many of the memories (well, at least as many as two guys approaching 1/2 century of living can remember 😉 of those days growing up and what’s happened to us since those days. Chris is in the financial services industry (not exactly a fun place to be these days) and is really good at what he does. And, I’ve gone into full time ministry with a marriage and family ministry, FamilyLife, after over 20 years in accounting and finance roles in business. So, we tried to connect some of the dots and had a great time.
One of the conversations we entered into focused on stuff. On those things that we strive for…cars, houses, successful careers, lifetime love relationships, family stability, etc. As I imparted my vast wisdom (imagine my tongue firmly implanted in my cheek) we talked about the fact that throughout much of our lives we spend time in pursuit of things, only to find that acheiving or obtaining them, typically or almost always pales significantly to the joy in the hunt. Why is that? I shared that it’s a principle my wife and I have tried to build into our children, i.e., that the things of this world will NEVER satisfy. Only God satisfies. I truly believe that. And, it does bring me some joy. But, I began to wonder about Christian joy. I began to ask myself, what brings us joy? What really makes us different than those who don’t have a relationship with God and all they have is the stuff they pursue? Seems to me that for the most part, we are both equally joyless on this earth. I mean, if I had to be honest, I haven’t met very many Christians who are truly joyful. Nice? Yes! Content? Some of the time? Purpose? More so than those who don’t know Christ. But, joyful? Not so much. It seems that for the most part, we are riding alongside those who don’t call themselves Christians, and basically settling for what life has to offer.
So, what’s the difference? Is it just that we know where we’re going when we die and they only think they know where they’re going. Partly. We have assurance that our lives don’t end here on this earth. But, why do we so often live like the joy of life is found here? And, then when we experience the same pain or have our stuff taken from us, we are as miserable as those who have no hope or expectation of living after the burial? I think I’m touching on what the main problem is, at least for me.
I’ll explore what that is in my next posting….until then…pursue pure joy!