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« Being Thankful | Main | Accepting Personal Responsibility »
Monday
Nov192012

The Source of Joy

I recently watched in interview with actor Gary Sinise, who made famous the character Lieutenent Dan in the epic film Forrest Gump. In the interview the interviewer asked Gary whey he takes "The Lieutenent Dan Band on the road about 50 weeks a year to raise money for wounded warriors. Gary responded I can't really explain it other than it makes me feel really good inside. That feeling Gary feels is known as joy and it can only be obtained through sacrifice. 

I can remember as a 16 year old boy making $1.50 an hour at K-Mart during the Christmas rush. It was Christmas eve and the story was about to close. It was snowing very hard and I helped push three shopping carts full of gifts for a woman in her mid 30s who was strkingly beautiful. When we got to her car I got them all loaded in the trunk and she opened her purse to take out a five or a ten, far more than I made in an hour for sure. She said please take it. I turned her down. She wanted to know why I wouldn't take the money. I told her that if I took the money it would just be part of my job but if I turned it down it would be my gift to her. It was a tremendous source of joy as a tear ran down her face. I thanked her but she said no thank you, you taught me something tonight.

I could recite story after story of acts of not random but specifically targeted kindness that people do for the sake of joy. I know people that have built Habitat Houss, read to children through Kids Hope USA, volunteered to serve breakfast to kids that otherwise wouldn't get a breakfast before school. My wfie and a young pastor nmed Dave Horne ran an afterschool program out of a rich white church in whose shadow sat one of the poorest sections of the town we lived in. Hope College students and a few others volunteered but for years my wife never missed a Tuesday or a Thursday. They didn't get paid. Their pay was joy. Not long ago we were in a local restaurant after church one Sunday and there sat a young man who was once I little boy whom my wife tutored and loved unconditionally. Now he has a wife and a little boy of his own. It is amazing how small actsof kindness can have such profound and lasting impacts in the world around us. 

In Hebrews book 12:2 it says, Fixing our eyes on Jesus who for the joy set before him suffered the cross, scorning is shame and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. The next time you have an opportunity to help someone and you don't expect anything in return. Think of Jesus who paied the ultiimate price going to the cross for the sake of eternal joy. This scripture is driven into my heart like a stake that joy is not free. You must give up something of yourself to experience joy and it is always worth it, 100% of the time. 

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