Recently a friend lost his phone. I met him on the road the morning he lost it and I could tell he was quite distraught. He had saved for a long period of time to buy his new smartphone, and just like that it was gone. I prayed that someone would find the phone and return it to him, knowing how that almost never happens.
“Finders, Keepers” as the old saying goes is a very common practice here. One time a well respected man took the passenger seat in our van and found what was equivalent to $1.50 laying on the seat. He immediately pocketed it glad to have found it. After explaining to the man that the money was for the project, not him, it was just sitting on the seat to be used, he said, “no, I found it, it’s mine”, despite the fact that it wasn’t lost.
Nevertheless we prayed, expecting a miracle. I decided that instead of heading directly home, I’d retrace the steps of my friend, which he had already retraced, all the while praying for a miracle. Lo and behold, the Lord directed me to where it was, laying out in a grass field that he had passed through. I quickly pocketed the phone praising God, and thinking, “finders keepers”.
That afternoon I was in the presence of my friend and delivered to him his phone. I could tell how down he had been for most of the day, not wanting to do anything productive, but sad he had lost something of such great value. It reminds me of the following parable Jesus shared:
““… Suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Won’t she light a lamp and sweep the entire house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she will call in her friends and neighbors and say, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost coin.’ In the same way, there is joy in the presence of God’s angels when even one sinner repents.”” – Luke 15:8-10 NLT
My friends joy returned to him that afternoon. In the evening he sent me a message thanking me greatly for returning him to a state of joy. I reassured him of how much God Lives him.
It got me thinking how much worth we attribute to the things we have, our material possessions. How my friend lost his joy over a phone. I understand the worth of the phone to my friend and don’t judge him, but how much more valuable are the spiritual things in life.
James tells us something about joy:
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials,” – James 1:2 NKJV
“For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.” – James 1:3 NLT
Jesus said in the passage above that the angels receive joy when one sinner repents. Our joy should be built on the cross of Jesus, not on what we possess in this life. Remembering the finished work of the cross, how Jesus died and suffered for me, to pay for my sin, to give me eternal life, brings me great joy. When I compare the things in my life to the cross, I see how worthless they really are in the scope of eternity. Everything I have, everything I own, I will leave behind when I make my journey to heaven; I can’t take anything with me. Eventually it will all be burned up and turned into ash. The great temple of the Lord was destroyed some years after Jesus died and rose again. Even the unsinkable Titanic met a doomed fate on her first journey. When we put our joy into the things of this world, we will eventually lose that joy, we will discover disappointment and sadness. When we put our joy on Jesus Christ, our joy is everlasting, can never be taken from us.
Where is your joy?