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  • Jim Etherton


Most of us could do with more joy in our lives.

We can find joy in various ways. A beautiful sunset or an amazing view may lift our spirits. An achievement such as better-than-expected exam results or success at work may really brighten our mood. Events such as the birth of a baby, a wedding, a birthday party, a reunion or a homecoming – can be really joyous occasions.

Adverts on television and websites and in newspapers and magazines try to sell us the idea that various products will bring us joy and make us feel better. But these generally turn out to be false promises. Inanimate objects rarely bring joy into our lives. And the objects we most treasure are often those that carry meaning for us beyond the object itself. Items that have been received as presents or inherited from a beloved friend or relation are cherished more than most things that we buy for ourselves.

When we put ourselves first and seek to benefit at the expense of others, then we are very unlikely to find true joy. By putting others first and seeking the best for them, we are much more likely to find joy ourselves. Finding the perfect gift for someone and seeing their pleasure at receiving it can be far more rewarding than acquiring things for ourselves.

I know that some of the most joyful people I meet are those that put others first and find their satisfaction in helping those around them. Meanwhile, selfish people are never satisfied with what they have and lack any real joy at all.

If we believe in Jesus as our Lord and Saviour then that means putting him first. It has been wisely said that the path to true joy is:

Jesus first; Others second; Yourself last.

Jesus said “I have come that you may have life and have it to the full” [John’s Gospel chapter 10 verse 10]. We find fulness of life when we worship God for who he is and when we serve him by serving other people. A church community is a place where that can happen. You would always be welcome to join us.

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