A pastor decides on Sunday morning that he’d rather golf than go to church, so he calls in a substitute. Then, so that he wouldn’t be seen by anyone who knows him, he drives to a faraway course.
As he tees up his ball, his guardian angel asks God if God will punish him for skipping church. Before God answers, the man swings and sinks a perfect hole-in-one. The angel asks God how is that punishment, and God replies, “Who is he going to tell?”
It’s just a joke, but it reveals a real truth: Our joy is not complete until we share it.
We saw this played out personally the other day. Brian recently found an emerald about the size of a silver dollar. OK – it was a piece of smooth, shiny green glass, but it was also a potential priceless treasure for a preschooler who is always on the hunt for pirate booty. Treasure hunts are a favorite pastime of Brian and our grandson. Of course, the treasures are usually twigs, uniquely shaped rocks, and things of that nature.
But this time, when Brian took our grandson out on a treasure hunt, Brian strategically placed the “emerald” where it would be quickly seen, and sure enough, it was!
“Papa! I found something!”
“What is it? It looks like an emerald.”
“It must be pirate treasure!” Of course, it is. In central Texas. Where no pirate ships have ever existed outside of the imagination of a little boy. But this little guy was convinced he had just found the most amazing proof that pirates had, in fact, battled it out in our subdivision, and he had found the one amazing jewel they had left behind. Overcome with emotion, he cried out, “Papa! Hug me!”
Our Joy Is Not Complete Until It Is Shared
There it is: Our joy is not complete until it is shared. This little boy was filled with joy but it was not complete, and he knew it instinctively, “Papa! Hug me!” So, Papa hugged him.
Papa! Hug me!
I’m not sure who enjoyed that hug more: Brian, or our grandson. I do know this, when Brian retells the story, he is still overcome with emotion. The “emerald” now safely rests in his treasure box on top of his toy cabinet.
I’ve been there – when I took my last final of my senior year of college, as I was walking back to my apartment, it dawned on me: I had taken my last final of my final year of college! I needed to share it with someone. I couldn’t tell Brian; he was in the midst of his own finals. It was mid-morning, so mom and dad were at work. There was only one person left: I called my Gramps! I had to share my joy, otherwise, it was incomplete.
We’ve all experienced job promotions, raises, passing a test, the right indicator on a pregnancy test, an engagement, or _____ (you fill in the blank), and we needed to share our joy with someone in order for it to be complete.
When I consider this from a Christian perspective, I see a great similarity with our lives before God: Our joys are incomplete until we share them with the Father. Most times nothing less than a hug will do. And we get that hug as we praise him and say “thank you” because we know all of our joys are from him.
There I will go to the altar of God, to God—the source of all my joy. I will praise you with my harp, O God, my God! Psalm 43:4 NLT
God: The Source of All Our Joys
All of our joys come from God, he alone is the giver of all good things, and we must praise him by sharing our joy with him through thanksgiving. As we thank him, and recognize that he has provided that which we have found, we are getting the hug we so desperately want, and need.
And we get that hug as we praise him and say “thank you” because we know all of our joys are from him.
The greatest treasure that we can ever discover is not a fake emerald, it is the true and abiding Word of God – it is a treasure that will not fade, break, nor can it be stolen. It is a treasure we keep safe by hiding it in our hearts. It is a treasure that will not fail to accomplish its purpose. It is a treasure that brings us great joy.
I rejoice in your word like one who discovers a great treasure. Psalm 119: 162 NLT
This joy, must also be shared. We must share God’s Word with people we know and love. We must pray it over them, we must study it with them, and we must live it out before them. As we share this Treasure, our joy will grow exponentially, it will fill us completely.
The presence of the Lord brings us exceeding joy, celebrating the blessings of the Lord fills us with joy; and it is joy of the Lord that is our strength. As Matthew Henry says, it is the oil to the wheels of our obedience. Since blessing follows obedience, the more we are blessed, the more we are filled with joy, and the more we want to share that joy with others.
It is a beautiful thing to call out, “Papa! Give me a hug!” It is even more beautiful to feel the arms of God wrap around you.
Do you feel incomplete in your joy? Do you need a hug from your Dad, your Abba, your Father? What blessings has God poured out on you that you need to turn back to him in thanksgiving and praise? Will you go to him now, and say, “Papa! Give me a hug!”
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Marcia’s book, 365 Days of Grace — is currently available on any of the following links: