In Luke 10:17-20, Jesus cautions his disciples not to get caught up in what great service they have done, “The seventy-two returned with joy,” Jesus knew how easy it is for us to get caught up in what we accomplish and for our personal accomplishments to sway our feelings of “joy.” Jesus received what they had to report and quickly turned their attention away from what they accomplished to himself saying, “Do not rejoice that the evil spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” (Luke 10:20, NIV).
Real joy does not come from what we do but rather in the One in whom we seek, find, and live. Our real joy comes from knowing Jesus and walking faithfully in his leading. The point of our following Jesus is wrapped up in him more so than in what we do… there is where joy is truly found.
Paul lived with great joy. He was full of the Holy Spirit and was confident in Jesus. He was introduced to Jesus on the Road to Damascus. But he came to know Jesus as he walked with him the rest of his life.
I’ve got a friend who played professional baseball. He played for many years at the top of the Triple A League. He would get called up to the Big Leagues from time-to-time when someone was hurt then go back down. His desire was to play in the Major Leagues full-time but that opportunity always seemed to escape his grasp.
In my opinion, he was living his dream. He lived with joy. He knew his “call” was the minor leagues. He is a guy with great character, integrity, and faith. Much like the Apostle Paul. Paul found great joy in his sufferings for the sake of Christ. My friend knew his greater impact in the lives of others was the Minor Leagues.
I read an article recently that spoke of Paul’s desire to serve in Spain. Bet he never got there. I thought of my desires in serving the Lord…. There is a deep growing in the process. The ultimate goal of the Lord’s is not that I obtain that goal but rather a deeper relationship with him.
The missionary’s great essential is remaining true to the call of God, and realizing that his one and only purpose is to disciple men and women to Jesus (Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, October 27).
- Do I know the Lord?
- Do I know the power of His indwelling Spirit?
- Am I wise enough in God’s sight, but foolish enough according to the wisdom of the world, to trust in what Jesus has said?
- Am I abandoning the great supernatural position of limitless confidence in Christ Jesus, which is really God’s only call for a missionary?
I must learn that the purpose of my life belongs to God, not me. God is using me from His great personal perspective, and all He asks of me is that I trust Him. (Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, November 10).