Number 35 in the series “God Rocks: 101 Amazing Everyday Gifts!” Stories and promises of Jesus that show us the awesome blessings we can experience each day. I hope it encourages you!
I’m giving up okra for Lent. I’m all in.
Of course I don’t like okra anyway. That’s why I’m giving it up for Lent. And after Lent also.
Frankly, I don’t get the whole Lent thing. I mean does God really care that I like chocolate? Really? So the vitality of my relationship with him is dependent on giving up say chocolate for a few weeks?
See, I think we all have enough real issues. I find the world downright scary, frustrating and depressing all on its own at times. I don’t feel a need to add a layer of irritation to it.
Yet, isn’t that what we do often with religion? We make up rules to impress God that don’t impress him and only make us miserable.
And the folks outside of the church? They look on and think, “Yeah, no thanks.”
And the saddest part? That wasn’t what Jesus showed us.
In this story John the Baptist’s disciples ask Jesus, “Why do we and the religious leaders follow all these rituals like fasting which make us miserable? Yet, your disciples don’t follow these rules?”
And Jesus answered, “Do wedding guests mourn while celebrating with the groom? Of course not. But someday the groom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.” (Matthew 9: 15 NLT)
He’s saying, “If you want to follow all those rituals and rules that are making you crazy go ahead. Just realize I didn’t ask you to.”
I love though that he points out what God does require. Come to the party! That’s it. What a great image!
And he says we’ll experience several things at this party.
First, an unexplainable joy. I mean isn’t it great to go to a party with friends and forget all the garbage of life for a while? That’s what he shows us. We can live everyday with that focus.
Second, we’re free from all the burdens religion piles on. We’re free from all the rituals. If some are meaningful then fine follow them. Just realize he doesn’t care. It’s our choice.
Third, Jesus never sugar coats life. He said there will be times life hammers us. But he still offers us a party in the midst.
Fourth, often in scripture Heaven is pictured as a great feast. I think he alludes to that reunion here.
Unexplainable joy is our gift when we accept it.
How have you experienced unexplainable joy?
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