This is part two of the Trading Joy series. There are many things that we trade joy for, just like Esau traded his birthright. We are only looking at a few of those things.
You can read part 1 here –We Trade Joy for Self
2. We Trade Joy for Busyness
So much can take up our time! There are dishes, laundry, music lessons, church activities, school, instagram, Facebook…we get so distracted with so many things! We serve others in our churches, home…making things for them, cooking beautiful meals. Then we think everyone should understand when we are grumpy from being overtired….because we worked SO hard FOR THEM!
The Bible mentions a few times how it’s better to be on a rooftop than with a brawling woman, and also some other similar ideas of a woman who sacrifices a lot, but has no joy…
“Better is a dry morsel, and quietness therewith, than an house full of sacrifices with strife.”Proverbs17:1
“Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith.”Proverbs 15:17
We can get SO busy, make extreme sacrifices, but it means nothing to our families because we are so grumpy! It makes me think of the passage in 1 Corinthians 13 on charity… “And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.” vs. 3.
Yet, that is usually how we serve, whether in the church or our homes! We give it all we have, all our time and efforts, all our energy…we get worn out and forget the MOST important thing! LOVE! It’s better for us to serve a box dinner with a smile, than a feast with an exhausted “You better appreciate all my work” face. We have no time to sit and listen to people – in our ministries or families.
The Bible gives us the perfect example…
“Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42
Martha was busy. She had probably a large amount of visitors coming through her home and a VERY important guest! She had a desire to have everything be perfect, keep everyone fed, probably keep things picked up. She was frustrated that NO ONE was helping! But she forgot to visit with her very important guest! She did not take time to spend with him! Her responsibilities were important…but she forgot the REASON she had them to begin with! And she was no longer serving joyfully…she was even griping to her guest of honor!
We had been working with our children to develop a habit of daily devotions – reading their Bible and praying. One day in particular, our youngest son had a super sweet attitude! His chores were done well. He was even helping others with theirs! We commented about it; then my husband asked him, “Did you read your Bible today?” He smiled his big smile (one he’s known for), and said, “Yes! And I prayed!”
It showed! And you know what? It shows in our lives too! When we forget the thing that is most needful and choose instead to jump straight into our busy goals for the day…IT SHOWS!
Getting up ahead of my six kids is almost impossible. And even when I manage it, as soon as I tiptoe into the kitchen for a cup of water, I am surrounded by six little people (some as tall as me now, haha), rubbing their still closed eyes with mouths opened, ready for conversation. But I HAVE to read my Bible and talk to the Lord if I expect to serve with a joyful heart. Taking time to get into the Bible, reading and thinking about what the Lord has to say, truly makes a huge difference in our lives! Probably the biggest difference in our joy! Secondly, taking time to sit and enjoy those in our lives, even if we have to let something go, is important. We will not find joy in keeping busy. This may be the most important, and possibly the hardest!
I pray that as we go through this series of trading joy, it is an encouragement and blessing to you. As I mentioned in the first part of this joy series, may we not trade the joy and peace God offers for the temporal things, like Esau traded his birthright for the temporal filling of his stomach!