Fullness of Joy2
Let’s face it, life can taste cold and bitter, like a half-empty cup of day-old coffee. Not always, but too often. Why is that? As believers, we are literally children of the King. We have an unlimited supply of mercy, grace, love, and life. I remember years ago, I worked for a pretty amazing lady who shared a simple thought with me: life is like a cup, it’s just better when it’s filled to the brim with fresh, hot coffee.
Because I like to be busy and relish quality time with people, I tend to stretch myself to unknown limits. I often find myself too busy to stop long enough to refresh my cup. And as much as I love a good cup of coffee, I still manage to endure the cold half-cup or day-old simply because I do not take the necessary time to rest and refresh. The joy vanishes; the stale settles.
My point? Yes, I am going somewhere with this. As believers, we are called into JOY. The Psalmist says that there is "fullness of joy at the right hand of our Father." We sit at God's right hand, and He created us to be fulfilled and happy. Now that does not mean pain-free, or without struggles. Quite the opposite.
Recently, I lost a very good friend and mentor unexpectedly. In addition to being a ministry partner, he reminded me of my own Dad, who passed away several years ago, he was meek and strong at the same time; he was wise, caring, and generous. It felt so unfair to feel the loss and to see the grief exuded from his family whom he loved so well.
During that grief, I thought about the coffee cup. The lady I referred to earlier expounded on her "cup metaphor" by explaining that in our spiritual life, it’s important to be filled to the brim with Jesus – we take our empty cup and pour in meekness, love, kindness, generosity, a lot of God’s Word and a heavy amount of prayer. With those ingredients, no matter how tough or dysfunctional times get, we end up with the perfect cup.
So...Stick with Jesus! Several months ago, I began writing the script for this year’s Christmas production, “Joy Comes in the Morning.” My mind could not abandon the encouragement from Psalms 16:11 (which I try to pour into my cup daily). The essence of this year’s story is simply this: things are going to go wrong, we are going to lose loved ones, and sin abides, but because of Jesus, even when things are wrong—they are right. It’s all a part of His divine plan. We can’t control circumstances, but we can control reactions. Grieving hearts and selfish spirits sink to the bottom when we are "filled to the brim" with Jesus. Too often we turn our back on Him and settle for the emptiness because we are too lazy or too tired or too stressed to refill (which is when we need it the most).
David says, “You make known the path of life; in your presence, there is fulness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
Trust the process—stick with Jesus—fill your cup, daily...even when you don't feel like it. Make the most of time and enjoy the beauty and warmth of the special moments and cherished memories that are gifts from God.
* When I was a high school teacher I had the opportunity to work alongside some great leaders. Thank you, Mrs. Yokely, for being a consistent, compassionate 'teacher' as you led - to this day you're a true example of living with a full cup.
*I've worked alongside my friend Keith for many years. Before he passed, he designed and built our set for this year's show as he had done for the past several years. Thank you, Keith Smith, for being a friend, mentor, and investor in countless lives.