Wednesday, April 19, 2023
How many things do you require in your life to be joyful?
When I arrived in the Philippines, I was overwhelmed with a sense of contentment that I don’t often experience here in America. My first full day was spent visiting the Bible College and meeting students who were preparing for their graduation. When I arrived on the campus, I was struck by two things: the new features that had been added, and the decay that was taking place. The tropical climate of humidity and the invasion of termites was causing unfortunate deterioration.
As I walked around the campus, I was still in my American mindset. I made note of things that needed repair. I saw things that I had personally worked on that were now no longer functional. I wondered why there wasn’t more effort put forth to take care of things and keep them nice. American thinking that turned to prideful conclusions.
As we approached the back of the campus, I met my first students. Three young women who were sweeping the grounds with hand-made straw brooms. They were smiling and singing. These girls had come to the Bible college to train to serve their King. They lived together in a dorm with now real possessions of their own. They trusted in the Lord to provide sponsors for their room and board as they had no resources of their own. They told me of many days they would go hungry as there was no money for food. They did their laundry by hand in an old concrete trough behind the dorm. Their living conditions would be unacceptable to any one of us.
Yet here they were, preparing the campus for a graduation ceremony in two days, followed by a pastor’s conference with over 400 attendees, many of whom would invade their dorm space just for a place to sleep. And while they swept, they sang songs of praise to King Jesus. The answer to most questions I asked them started with the words, “By the grace of God.” These young servants of Jesus understood that we require nothing more than the grace of God to be filled with joy.
What a lesson I learned that first day. What a challenge to my American way of thinking. What an eye-opener to my personal sense of entitlement.
So, I ask you again, how many things do you require in your life to be joyful?