"These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full" (John 15:11). Jesus speaks to his disciples and reminds them "they can not and are unable to do anything without him." He gives them a contrast between a bad tree, which bears no fruit and a good true, which bears good fruit. This analogy is given to show them the difference between a true disciple and a false disciple. He also tells them, "those disciples which bear good fruit bring much glory to his Father (v.8)." The disciples which bear good fruit have the love of the Father as they keep the commandments, thereby giving them much joy and satisfaction in serving the Father.
The Apostle John said in 1 John 5:3, "For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments and his commandments are not burdensome."For the disciple of Christ who follows God and has the love of God shed abroad in his heart by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5), the commandements of God brings great joy. No longer does the disciple have to read his Bible, have to pray, have to meet with the other saints, have to give, have to visit the sick, or have to share the gospel, now the disciple has the distinct privilege in doing so. It is no longer a burden, but rather a blessing which brings great joy in ministering to others! Yesterday was one of the most difficult days I have had in the ministry in awhile, yet as I was traveling home I had a peace and a sense of joy which surpassed all understanding. Yesterday I drove to Alabama to do a funeral of a gentleman who I worked with at Books-A-Million for over 5 years and 2 years we rode in the same truck together. Doug, a.k.a. "Bigfoot" and I were together more than we were with our wives and that is the truth. We logged several thousands of miles over the road and we became close friends, like brothers. Of course, he was the big brother since he was 6'7" and was 47 years old and I was the little brother. "Bigfoot" was a kind and gentle person, but if you every was on his bad side you had better watch out! I had the honor while we shared the cab of an 18 wheeler to tell Doug about Christ and how He had changed my life. Often he did not want to hear about it, but at other times he was very opened. One night traveling from Ownesboro, KY back to Florence, AL, "Bigfoot" woke up and sat in the "jump seat" (passenger seat, trucker talk) and I could tell he had something on his mind. He had been having family problems and told me he was sick of being a bad person. As I drove I kept my eyes glued to the road and let him speak his heart. He cried while speaking about his childhood, the hard life he lived on the road as a trucker, and about marital problems he was experiencing. Of course, I was shocked but knew the Lord was at work in his heart. That was on a Friday night as we were heading home. The following Sunday, Bigfoot shows up at church and then the Sunday after, and the Sunday after. Finally, after several weeks in the truck with me and talking about the Bible and what Jesus had done for sinners, he shows up to church on Sunday and shares with the church what Christ had done for him on the cross. I thought he was going to tear the 'pew' out of the floor that morning. It wasn't too long after his conversion he called me and said, "guess what?" And I said, "there is no telling!" Bigfoot said, "I have only said, 10 cuss words today." I said, "that is awesome, at least your keeping up with them." It was evident God had done a work of grace in "Bigfoot's" heart. As I traveled home last night I became emotional thanking God for allowing me the opportunity to share Christ with 'Bigfoot' and to know him. After the funeral I was able to go to the county jail and visit with my sister. My sister is 32 years old and a drug addict with serious problems of being a kleptomaniac She has been arrested and will serve some serious time due to her drug problem. As I traveled to the county jail again was reminded of God's grace and how 18 years ago it was me in the jail. I remembered how depraved I was, how desperate I had become, and how far a person can really sink to with drug and alcohol addictions.I remembered Ephesians 2:4, But, God being rich in his mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our sins and trespasses - by grace you have been saved..." As I spoke through the phone seeing my sister through the video camera my heart ached and my eyes filled with tears seeing my little 'Sissy' in such a condition. She shared with me she felt good since she had been unable to get drugs in jail and had been reading a Bible and trying to pray. My heart hurts for my niece (11) and nephew (5), as their mother was not home for Thanksgiving nor will she be there for Christmas holidays. Again, on my way home last night I thank God for his grace and mercy in allowing my sister to be in jail and prayed He would open her heart to repent of her sins and turn to Christ for salvation. As I was away ministering in Alabama, the people of PHBC meet for our mid-week prayer meeting and Bible study without their pastor. One of our young men led our meeting and things seemed to go well. Again, as I was driving home I praised God for raising up able men to teach God's word and giving them a desire to do so. My words can not express the gratitude I have for such a great God who I serve and his mercy and grace toward such a sinner as myself. God has giving me and others the desire to serve others with the grace he has extended to me and I count it all joy! It is a pleasure, a honor, and a joy to minister the word of God to others for the sake of their good and His glory!
Yesterday, was a day with mixed emotions, but most of all it was a day of great joy in serving my great God? Do you have this joy in serving God? If not, why?