Hello. My name is Marcia. I’m a mall-walker. I’m not alone. There are many of us; we arrive before the stores open and we barrel briskly down the mostly empty hallways for exercise. The mall is great for walking, there’s security, heat in winter, AC in summer, it never rains, you don’t have to jump out of the way of a bicycle, and you’re never too far from a bathroom.
A few months ago my friend, who’s also a mall-walker, and I were speeding along when a young woman came into view heading straight toward us pushing a custodial cart. She made eye contact and with a huge smile on her face, as if she knew us, she headed in our direction. The second she was close enough to speak, she said, “I just got promoted! I’ll never have to push this cart again!”
We clapped! We hugged her! We congratulated her! We had no idea who she was! After a minute we resumed our walk; smiling and filled with joy. What a moment. She had great news to share and it didn’t matter who she shared it with. It was as if she was compelled by some inner force to share. We were privileged to rejoice with her.
I’m reminded of the Apostle Paul who said in 1 Corinthians 9:16, “For when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, since I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!” When it came to the gospel, Paul was like this young woman, he had to share. He had to preach. He was compelled by God’s Holy Spirit to share what God had put in his heart and mind.
Do you remember what it was like to feel that way about Jesus? Can you recall when your salvation was new and your joy was overflowing and you just had to tell everyone about this great new adventure you were on with God?
What happened? Did the walk with God grow old? Did it prove to be more difficult than you thought? Did other people’s reaction drain the joy out of your testimony? Did church get boring? Did Bible study fall by the wayside?
King David prays in Psalm 51, “Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you.” Is that your prayer? Should it be?
Perhaps we’ve lost our joy because we misunderstood our responsibility. We are not to save others, but to teach them God’s ways. We learn God’s ways by studying his word and applying it. We teach others when we tell them what God has done in our own lives.
That’s what the young woman did. She inadvertently shared with us what God had just done in her life! It gave us all joy. What has God done in your life? Who needs to hear it?