- "Hey, it’s my turn to sit on the front pew!"
- "I was so enthralled; I didn’t notice the sermon ran 25 minutes over."
- "You know what we need at this church— more announcements!"
- "I wish people would stop getting to church so early!"
- "Personally, I find witnessing much more enjoyable than golf."
- "Let’s give the $500 a month we pay in country club fees to church."
- "I volunteer to be the permanent teacher for the Junior High class."
- "I just love it when we sing those new songs I’ve never heard."
- "Nothing inspires me more than another sermon on giving!"
- "Nothing is more exciting and enjoyable than church."
How often do we use the words “church” and “joy” in the same sentence? For many people, church is like medicine-- they know that it’s good for them, but it tastes terrible. And maybe like medicine, it is supposed to taste terrible. And it’s not just church. Many seem to approach the Christian life like that. How many Christians look like they were weaned on a sour pickle? How many are joyless pessimists who see life as a glass a half-empty?
We act like we don’t understand that the Christian life to be a life of JOY. The word for joy appears about 131 times in the New Testament; that a lot of joy. In fact, that was the standard Greek greeting. Paul combines this greeting “joy” with that of “peace” (Hebrew “shalom”) to begin his letters.This is also the greeting used two other occasions. The angel who told Mary she was with child began his speech with “joy” (“Luke 1:28). Jesus met the women after Resurrection with “joy” (Matt 28:9). So joy is mentioned at the beginning (birth) and end (resurrection) of the story of Jesus! The gospel begins and ends with joy. That doesn’t mean that life will always be a happy-go-lucky type of existence. But it does mean that our lives should always reflect the joy of the Lord. I think we all need to be reminded of that occasionally.