March 15, 2022 — Rejoicing with Others

One morning while we waited for Ricky to bring our breakfast, I asked Stan, “Do you ever have any trouble rejoicing over what God is doing in and through other people?”

“Rather than answering my question, he said, “Why do you ask that? Something going on?”

“Well, yeah,” I replied, “sometimes I look at what God is doing with other people and I ask, ‘Why them and not me?’”

“I understand,” Stan said. “Let’s talk about it. You remember the story of  Zacharias and Elizabeth, the parents of John the Baptist?

“A little,” I replied. “What about it?”

“Even though they were old and childless,” Stan said, “they wanted and prayed about having a baby.”

“And God answered their prayer,” I replied, “with a baby they named ‘John’.”

“That’s right,” Stan said, “and what’s important for me about that part of the story is that the neighbors rejoiced when they heard that God had displayed His mercy towards them by answering their prayer. They rejoiced in the birth without knowing anything more.”

“Anything more?”

“Yeah,” Stan said, “I don’t think they knew that the baby was going to become John the Baptist who would proclaim Jesus. They didn’t know they were witnessing a powerful movement by God. They simply rejoiced over the answered prayer for a baby.”

“A good lesson,” I replied. “Rejoice with those who rejoice even though I don’t know the whole ramifications of why. Seems to me I remember something about that. Didn’t the apostle Paul write a thing or two about that?”

“He did,” Stan said. “He wrote that I am to rejoice with those who rejoice. Period. None of this ‘Why not me?’ stuff.”

“How do you do that?” I asked.

“From my perspective,” Stan replied, “whenever I find myself not rejoicing with others who have reason to rejoice over what God has done, all I have to do to get myself refocused is to reflect on all of the reasons I have to rejoice over what God has already done for me.”

“You mean like God doesn’t have to do anything else in order for you to rejoice?”

“Exactly,” Stan replied. “He has provided salvation and redemption so I will spend eternity in His presence when it’s time, and He has provided the way to know Him and Jesus in an ever-deepening personal relationship on this side of eternity before then. What more do I need in order to rejoice?”

“If I will do that,” he concluded, “there’s no way I’m not going to rejoice with others. I just need to get the focus off of selfish me and join others, as well as God, in rejoicing!”

“As simple as that?” I asked.

“As simple as that,” Stan replied. “But just because it’s simple, it doesn’t mean it’s easy!”


Bible verses to consider:

Now the time had come for Elizabeth to give birth, and she brought forth a son.  And her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had displayed His great mercy toward her; and they were rejoicing with her. Luke 1:57-58.

Rejoice with those who rejoice.  Romans 12:15.

Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great. Matthew 5:12.

. . . rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven. Luke 10:20.

Prayer:  Thank you, Father, for your free and gracious provision of life eternally with you when it’s time, along with being able to draw ever closer to you before then. I confess that too often I do not rejoice in all you have done for me, and I fail to rejoice in what you are doing in and though other people. Please forgive that selfish approach to living the life you have given me to live. Please help me to always rejoice in you, what you have done for me, and for what you are doing in and through other people. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Think on this: Do you rejoice that your name is recorded in heaven so that you know you will spend eternity in God’s presence when it’s time? If no, is that because you have not accepted God’s free and gracious provision of life eternally with Him? If that’s the case, why? What’s standing in the way? If you do have the assurance of salvation and redemption, how are you doing with rejoicing on this side of eternity—rejoicing in what God has done for you, as well as rejoicing with others? If you sense the need for any change in how and whether you rejoice, how is that going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?

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