The Dancing Puritan

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Occupied With Joy

Whether you are rich or poor, you can choose one of two ways to live. Some people live out their lives in a miserly fashion and they are like the man in Ecclesiastes 5:17 who "eats in darkness in much vexation and sickness and anger." The isolated and lonely man lives out his days filled with anxiety, bad health as a result of his worry, and dies as an angry old man. What a sad picture.

The lonely old man in Ecclesiastes is one who looked for meaning in all of the wrong places. He sought meaning in a self-centered pursuit of money and possessions. He gained it all but lost a lot of sleep (12), gained a lot of manipulative associates, paid more taxes, and heaped to himself multiplied worries.

The reality is that one does not have to be rich in order to be lonely, anxious, sick, and angry. Any person, rich or poor, that is disconnected from a relationship with God, and is absent of any real friends, is in the same condition. He may die with a smile on his face but if you scratch the surface, you will find multiplied sorrows.

What are you reaching for?

A second way to live is to be occupied with joy (5:20). This person does not have time to fret, worry, and waste his life away with sleepless nights. Why? He is too busy enjoying the precious and brief life that God has given him. He imagines, that God might be pleased to grant him 77 years of life and, therefore, he values each second as sacred. He decides to live instead of growing angry and bitter.

This man recognizes that God is the giver of good gifts and that those gifts are to be received with joy.  He also knows that joy does not come from gifts but from God. God purposefully created within all gifts an inability to satisfy. Why? So that upon receiving his gifts we would have to turn back to him for the capacity to enjoy those gifts. There is no joy apart from God.

You see, we glorify God by receiving his gifts with thanksgiving and depending on him to give the capacity to enjoy the gifts that he has given.

Can you imagine being so occupied with joy that your joy-occupation gives an answer for the reality of your faith? That is the life of the person who knows God and enjoys him first and foremost.

Two ways to live. You can choose to leave God out of your busy life. Or you can choose to be anchored deep in his generous character, bath deeply in his sweet grace, receive his good gifts, and live a happy life right now as you anticipate the glories that await you in heaven.

Your choice.

Ray Rhodes, Jr. is President of Nourished in the Word Ministries. Visit him on Facebook.