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Joyous Contentment

Posted by John Bechtel , 02 May 2010 · 1123 views

joy thankfulness
All the men in my small circle of close friends agree that there is one phrase they do not like to hear from their wife on the one day they are just sitting down to watch their favorite football team beat the socks off their chief rivals. It goes like this:
“Sweetheart (be careful), would you like to go to the Mall with me?” The response is dropped shoulders, concern for the family budget and capitulation as you both head off for the Mall.
On a recent Mall trip, I decided before arriving there that I would do my best not to participate in searching for the perfect white blouse (there are 17 million to choose from) but rather, I would try to learn something from observing the other people in the Mall, specifically those who were discontent with being there.
God gave me a surprise! What caught my attention was an elderly woman who was shopping with her assistant who happened to be a beautiful brown Labrador Retriever. The dog got my attention by illustrating a life lesson we all need to learn.
I decided to follow this “team” of shopper and guide as they passed through the various stores in the Mall whilst my wife searched for the all-elusive perfect white blouse.
The first observation I made was that the dog was constantly wagging his tail. He smiled at everyone going by and said HI with his tail. She would walk to the next counter and he would follow wagging his tail. If she took a long time examining the possible important purchase, he would sit down but should someone walk by him, he would stand up and wag his tail. I followed them as they went from store to store and the tail never stopped wagging and that day, my trip was very worthwhile as I learned something from that dog. He exhibited joy the best way he could no matter the circumstances. He was just plain happy in his service to this woman who obviously needed his assistance to survive. He was not trying out for the New York Dog Show! He did not care how his hair looked or if he had a diamond studded collar. He was perfectly content to serve his master and be joyous and content in doing so. Here is the great lesson I learned:
Habakkuk 3:17-18
"Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will be joyful in God my Savior."

I hope you get it! We are to be full of joy. It should be obvious. It should have nothing to do with our circumstances even though I am well aware of the torture I feel when I get to go to the Mall.
• When Trinni cleaned our office she sang hymns.
• When Roger painted our house, he sang choruses
• When I meet Chinese who have been jailed for almost 20 years, they ooze joy
• When I meet a persecuted Russian pastor, he is full of joy
• When I meet a man in the mountains of New Guinea with nothing but a mud hut, he expresses joy
• When I talk to a drug addict who has found Christ, he is joyful
• When I meet a person of wealth who uses her resources to advance the Great Commission, she does so with joy
• When I meet a mother watching her son serve the Lord, I observe joy
• When I held the hand of my friend last week as he was dying, he expressed joy

It’s not pleasure I’m talking about, it’s not circumstances and I could name lots of other things it is NOT. Here is what it IS as exemplified by Jesus!

Hebrews 12:2 "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."

That’s the joy I am talking about. Wag your tail. Demonstrate the joy that only a relationship with Christ can generate. That dog made me think and remember to fix my eyes on Jesus who really demonstrated what joy is all about. Endure whatever cross you have AND DO IT JOYFULLY. Wag your tail!!

Hi John,

Enjoyed your blog. Just a Q. Are you the John Bechtel I knew in Hong Kong in 1967-69? If so, its because of my contact with you and your father, that I was led into the C&MA ministry!

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