“In your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11)
Our friends have a three-year-old grandson. His name is Zach. Zach enjoys everything three-year-old boys enjoy. He’s into marshmallows, toy cars, and riding in his grandpa’s Willy Jeep. But his face really lights up when he is told he is going to Applebee’s. He tells everyone he can, I’m going to Applebee’s! I’m going to Applebee’s! Now, I too like Applebee’s. I just don’t get as excited about going there to eat as Zach does. However, watching Zach’s zeal for Applebee’s makes me wonder where my own zeal for many things has disappeared to over the years.
Seems that as time rolls by, our zest for life goes flat. Knowing Jesus Christ puts us on a journey in this life like no other. The fact that we belong to him ought to make us smile as we pilgrimage through the years. Yet so many of us waste time grumbling, complaining, and whining like the rest of the world. We rehearse our aches and pains, our sorrows and sufferings to anyone who will listen. We lick our wounds because we feel slighted. We fill our minds with critical thoughts about others. We argue with people over petty things that have no lasting value. We have lost the joy God wants our journey to be filled with. Or perhaps we haven’t lost it at all. Perhaps we have callously given it away!
When was the last time you smiled – or giggled – or had a good old belly laugh? When was the last time you took a good look at some of the funny creatures in God’s animal kingdom? When did you last stand in a field and get a smile on your face listening to the bray of a donkey? When was the last time you played and giggled with a child? Or when was the last time you simply enjoyed the splendor of the setting sun, the red sky that welcomes the morning sunrise, a rainbow that lights up the heavens with majestic color, or a cascading waterfall that nearly takes your breath away? When was the last time you stopped and listened to the rustling of autumn leaves, or took a deep breath from a fragrant flower? When was the last time you were in awe of a snow-capped mountain rising above the rolling landscape? When was the last time you sat in front of a roaring fire on a cold day with a steaming cup of hot chocolate and a big grin on your face?
And if those things aren’t enough for your enjoyment, ask yourself if you truly enjoy the special family members God has given you – hand-picked by Him I might add. Are you in the business of making special memories with them? When was the last time you got together with friends and just cut loose with lots of laughs? Or spent quality time with a wise confidant, sharing your hearts?
God has given us so much to enjoy on this earth. And if we are going to get the most out of our journey with Christ, we need to make the most out of our journey with Christ. Let’s stop making this life about us. Let’s make it about God and the beauty, joy, love, and grace he lavishes upon us every minute of our day. This journey we’re on is specifically designed by God for each one of us. It is our responsibility to open our capability to enjoy it. Age only goes one way, and that way is forward. Trust me, the clock never goes back. Someday our “lane departure” light is going to come on, and it isn’t going off.
We don’t stop enjoying this journey because we grow old; we grow old because we stop enjoying this journey. And if you need a special little boost to get back your joy and appreciation, I recommend you go have lunch with Zach at Applebee’s.