Life universally consists of both tears and laughter, grief and elation, misery and joy.  Jesus summarized His ministry by saying, “These things have I spoken unto you that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full” (John 15:11 ).  His was a ministry of joy.  His disciples were to realize joy even in the fiery trials that awaited them as they proclaimed the gospel (good news) of Christ(Matt. 5:10-12 ).  The apostle Paul looked upon his ministry as the imparting of joy into the lives of others.  He wrote the Philippian church, ”I shall continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith: that your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you again” (Phil. 1:25-26 ).  In the same epistle he urged them, “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice” (4:4).   Every preacher of the gospel should desire a ministry of imparting joy—the joy of coming to know Christ as Savior and Lord, and the joy of walking with Him.  Someone once phrased it this way: “Joy is the flag which is flown from the castle of the heart when the King is in residence there.” Another has said, “Joy grows on the Christian tree.”

There are times when Christians must endure the pains of life, but true joy will not be vanquished.  The psalmist David wrote, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning” (Psa. 30: 5b).  Such joy is not found in the gaining of earthly fame nor the accumulation of earthly wealth, but only in the surrendering of our lives to His authority.  It is as Peter declared: “believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls” (1 Pet. 1: 8b-9)

-Ron Bartanen lives in Sullivan, IL and  preaches for the Arthur Church of Christ