Weekly Thought – November 1, 2022
Fred, when once asked to distinguish between joy and happiness, responded: “Happiness is a bubbling stream; joy is a deep aquifer. One is temporary and on the surface; the other is underground providing water for years.” Part two of Fred’s first book You and Your Network was Joy in the Journey.
Growing older should include joy. Joy is like the wine which Christ offered to the host after turning it from ordinary water in the pots. The best was saved for the last of the marriage feast.
The normal pattern is expending the energy of youth and the exuberance of young adulthood in chasing the best. They focus on happiness. Those who age well like fine wine know that the latter years can be the best – filled with joy, not just happiness. Too many waste time drinking the best first, leaving the poorer for the years of old age. They live on the crumbs of former feasts. They are defrosting frozen meals from the past and snacking on reheated scraps rather than enjoying hot, fresh dinners.
They spend their time with memories of their “good days” rather than creating new stories, new memories, and new joys. The Christian life is not like that. As Christians we have the possibility to see our usefulness continue and even grow as we age. We are to live constantly believing that “the best is yet to be.” I am not as young and mobile as I was in my twenties, but my life is far richer from the people in my life, opportunities to mentor, seeing the family grow well. These last years have provided profound joy, not just moments of happiness.
Our prayer of gratitude as we get older should be, “Thank you, Lord, for thou hast kept the best until now.” In Scripture we see the story of the servant who accept responsibilities and duties. At the end of the story we read “Well done, thou good and faithful servant. Enter into the joys of the Lord.” The end of life brought the very best.
Seeing aging as the time to experience the Lord’s joy should not be the exception – this should be the normal pattern for Christians. We should eagerly drink the best wine as we reach the end. We should, also, recognize the privilege and responsibility of “length of days” and use them in service, not self-interest.
This week think carefully about: 1) At my age am I focusing on temporary happiness or building a life which will bring long term joy? 2) Who is failing to appreciate the benefits of growing older? 3) What can I do to make sure I don’t eat scraps from earlier banquets?
Words of Wisdom: “As Christians we have the possibility to see our usefulness continue and even grow as we age.”
Wisdom from the Word: “Even when you are old, I will take care of you, even when you have gray hair, I will carry you. I made you and I will support you; I will carry you and rescue you.” (Isaiah 46:4 NET Bible)