"Joyful or Cheerless"
August 7, 2013
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Colossians 3:15-16
Have you ever met anyone who just radiated goodness, niceness and pleasantness?
In the course of my life I have been blessed to know a number of such people. (My helpmeet of 43 years is one of them.) They have not always been super-smart, ultra-talented, mega-blessed, or natural leaders.
On the other hand, these folks seem to be welcomed just about any place they go. That's because without working at it, they have the ability to make almost everyone feel loved and at peace. Now if you're paying attention, you may have noticed that both of the preceding sentences have a qualifier. I said, "just about any place" they went and "make almost everyone feel loved."
I put in those qualifiers because it seems that even the best people in this world have someone who dislikes them.
As evidence of that, I point out that around 1:30 a.m. in the morning on Friday, July 26th, somebody vandalized the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. This they did by deliberately throwing green paint at the statue of our country's most beloved and probably best president.
Since hearing about that event, I've wondered just what would it take to make an individual so angry that he would take his frustrations out on a piece of stone set up to honor a good man who had been martyred in the service to his country? And as I was thinking about such nasty folk, I also ended up thinking about the Savior.
I thought of Jesus because, well, God's perfect Son lived, suffered and died. He did so for the grouchy, gloomy Gus as well as the soul who is filled with sweetness and light. When Jesus rose from the dead, He did so to bring peace to the hearts of those who seem to subsist on a diet composed completely of sour grapes and those whose mouths are filled with honey.
This takes me to the point of this devotion. It's easy for you and me to give thanks to the Lord for those who make us smile and give our hearts a warm glow; it is far harder to pray for those whose dark shadow seems to radiate gloom to everyone around them.
This is why our sentence prayer is going to speak to the Lord on behalf of those who have a sour spirit. Let us ask that they be changed. May they, as St. Paul encourages, be filled with thankfulness in their hearts toward God.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, when You were born the shepherds were told that event was "good news of great joy" (see Luke 2:10). When You rose from the dead, Your disciples were filled with joy. May that same joyful spirit touch those Christians who today find themselves living in a cloud of cheerlessness. In Your Name I ask it. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries