Pastor David Lawson, Administrative Pastor
245. That’s the number of times the word joy or its derivatives and synonyms is used in the New Testament. 245 occurrences in 260 chapters.
Joy characterizes the Christian life. It’s not dependent on being an introvert or extrovert. It doesn’t matter whether you’re bubbly… or a drip. Joy is not a personality.
Joy is a Person.
Jesus said, “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” – John 15:11 (emphasis mine)
Joy comes from Jesus. So if you’ve got Jesus, you’ve got joy. I heard Tom Holladay, teaching pastor at Saddleback Church, put it this way,
“If I stick a spiritual thermometer in my mouth, it should register joy. “
I like that.
And, don’t miss this… Joy is meant to be given away. Just like Jesus shared his joy with us, I am to share His joy with others. And Peter says that joy is shared through service.
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. – 1 Peter 4:10 (emphasis mine)
Now, hang with me for just a minute. Because I think this is important. The Greek word for grace is charis; the Greek word for joy is chara. You see it, don’t you? In fact, charis and chara are not always easily and clearly differentiated in meaning.
What’s the point? Grace and joy go together! Like peanut butter and jelly. Like macaroni and cheese. Like Tom and Jerry. Like the Browns and losses.
That brings a new perspective to what Peter said, doesn’t it? Think about it. When I serve in faith, I become a dispenser of God’s grace (charis). That’s why my service brings joy (chara). Because charis brings chara.
Philanthropy brings happiness. Service brings joy.
Philanthropy requires commitment and elbow grease. Service requires conviction and faith.
This Christmas season, we have the opportunity to spread some joy… and grace. What if Grace Church spread some chara through charis? What if you left your house everyday calculating ways that you will spread joy through gracious service? What if, every night around the dinner table, your family schemed about how you will deliver joy in packages of grace to your neighbors, your coworkers, the kids at school? What if, in your home, every night ended with parents and kids knelt around the bed praying for your planned acts of gracious service to bring joy to others? What if we walked around busy stores and crowded malls, stood in long lines with impatient people or sat in winding drive-thru’s, always on high alert to discover opportunities to be faithful stewards of God’s grace?
This Christmas, I’m asking you to Give Joy. Give Joy is part of our It’s Not About Me Christmas. Our goal as a church is to deliver 10,000 packages of joy wrapped in gracious service. We want to put life in Christ on display to 10,000 people, using our gifts and service to faithfully dispense God’s grace in its various forms.
10,000 acts of selfless, faith-filled acts of Christian service.
10,000 packages of grace.
10,000 deliveries of joy.
10,000 “You made my day!” opportunities.
10,000 snapshots of the Suffering Servant.
10,000 evidences of Jesus in us.
Let’s Give Joy. And let’s be generous about it. Joy is too good to keep to ourselves. In fact, it could probably be said that joy is not joy unless it’s given away. Come on, Grace, let’s spread some chara cheer!