Perhaps we do not think often enough of the responsibility of joy. When God makes us glad, the gladness is not to end with ourselves; we are to pass it on. The Lord said two things to Abraham: “I will bless you,” and “you will be a blessing.” The blessing was not merely for Abraham’s own sake, nor was it to terminate in him. He was the custodian of this gift of God, so that in turn, he might give its benefits to others.
So we may ask ourselves the question, after receiving any favor or blessing from God: “What did you do for others when you were blessed?” When we have experienced any pure, sweet joy, we need to put this question to ourselves: “What enrichment of life did you receive from your joy? What new, sweet song did you learn to sing when you were happy? What blessings of cheer did you pass to others when your heart was glad?”
We ought to be better when God has given us joy. The joy should add to the charm and power of our personality, and the strength and beauty and depth of our character. If we are not richer-hearted after God has given us some new, sweet gladness, then we have failed to receive His gift aright or to get from it what He meant us to get. Whenever we have a day of radiant joy or sweet peace or blessed vision, and are not better because of it, we have missed the real purpose of the blessing which God intended us to get.
Our mountain-top days are not merely experiences to be enjoyed by us; the radiance should become part of our life thereafter, and the light should shine from us upon others. The purpose of living is not merely to be happy ourselves, but also to make others happy; it is not only to have blessings, but also to grow into lives of deeper, sweeter blessedness. It goes without saying that our faces should show this. Not many of the people we meet have truly joyous faces. Too many show traces of worry and discontentment. But if we have the joy of Christ in our hearts, it ought to shine out. This is one of the ways we may let our light shine before men. We should remember that we are responsible for what our faces say to people. We have no right to show in our features doubt, fear, discontentment, unhappiness, fretfulness, or bitterness. We are not witnessing worthily for Christ unless we are witnessing in our faces to the joy and blessing of His love.
One says that the world is a looking glass which reflects our looks, whether they are sweet or sour. Joy in our faces, breaking into smiles, starts smiles on other faces. There are many faces which are a blessed evangel because of the love, peace, and joy which illumine them. When we pose for a picture, the photographer says, “Now look pleasant!” That is good. We cannot get a picture which we will want our friends to see, unless we wear a face that is bright, cheerful, and sunny when we are sitting before the camera.
Of course, we want a pleasant face in a photograph. But we have no right to wear an unhappy or a clouded face anywhere! Wherever we go, if we know the love of Christ, there is a voice bidding us to look pleasant. We represent Christ, and Christ’s face was always a blessing. He never made anyone’s burden heavier, or anyone’s heart sadder, by a gloomy face. Our faces should shine with the joy of Christ which is in our hearts.
But the face is not all. The mind of Christ should also inspire in us a personal ministry of kindness. When we have been warmed by our fire of love, we should shed the warmth on others – not only in happy faces, but also in a ministry of thoughtfulness and helpfulness which may bless many. Love is always kind, and nothing is more worthwhile than kindness. Nothing else does more to brighten the world and sweeten other lives.
Kindnesses are the small coins of love. We should always be ready to scatter these bright coins wherever we go. Kindnesses are usually little things that we do, as we go along our daily path.
“They are little, simple things to do – To sweep a room, to bake a loaf of bread, Kiss a hurt finger, tie a baby’s shoe, To mend a crying schoolboy’s broken sled. “Such little, simple things! But they above Who on our little world attendant wait, And joyful wait, note only if through love The deed be done, to count the work as great.”
We do not know the value of these little acts, or their far-reaching influence. In Jesus’ parable, we are told how a mustard seed grew into a tree, amid whose branches, the birds perched and sang. It is said that the fuchsia was first introduced into England by a sailor-boy, who brought a single plant from some foreign country as a present for his mother. She put it in her window-box, and it became an attraction to all who passed by. From that little plant came all the fuchsias in England! When, in loving thought for his mother, the boy carried home the little plant; he did not know what a beautiful thing he was doing, what a ministry of good he was starting, or how widely the influence of his simple thought of love would reach. And when we do any smallest thing in love for Christ, we do not know what the end of it will be, or what a harvest of good will come from it.
It is a beautiful thing to plant a flower which may grow and be the beginning of a lovely garden which shall brighten one little spot in the desert! That is worthwhile. It is worthwhile to put a bit of beauty into a dreary spot to brighten it. It is worthwhile to plant a few flowers where no flowers had bloomed before. It is a beautiful thing to change a patch of desert into a garden. It is even more worthwhile to get love into a heart where only selfishness and hate have dwelt before. And it is best of all to get Christ admitted where He has not been received before! That is the truest and best ministry.
How can you share smiles and kindnesses and the joy of the Lord with others in your family today?
I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments on this article! Feel free to leave your reflections and ask your questions below.
God bless you and your family, this day and always.
All for our King’s glory,
This post is another installment of Miller’s Monday Musings, a weekly series that is published every Monday on my website. The series features selected writings that have been adapted from the works of James Russell Miller (1840-1912), a much-beloved Christian author and pastor who is well-remembered for his practical thoughts on Christian home and family life. Learn more about this weekly series by clicking here.