So, John has experienced so much in his long life…and I complain; I still complain. People misunderstand you as a pastor, don’t agree with your leadership, the church doesn’t grow, doesn’t give, doesn’t do this or that, but at least they aren’t trying to kill me! I don’t know what church life was like prior to his 90’s but John never gave up on the church. He loved it, gave his life for it, and continued to put up with, well, crap. Crap comes with the church.
In 1 John he writes so that “our joy may be complete.” John never lost the joy, and so many of us simply, amidst the “crap,” lose our joy. John had heretics leading his people, the people he loved, astray. Yet, he looks for more joy. These gnostics, dualists, docetists, whatever you want to call them, were quickly not only causing a church split, but basically destroying the network of house churches John cared for. He even says, “I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as we commanded by the Father.” (v4). “Some.” When we only have “some” we moan and groan, complain, get depressed, and think it’s just not worth it. Joy = some. Think about it – do you still see the “some”? There is joy in appreciating the “some.”
My dad is 87-years old. He rarely complains. His wife of 62-years, my mother, is dying of cancer. My dad still has a great smile, a wonderful laugh, and a great appreciation for the “some.” For him it’s as simple as being able to work in his yard, even with his fading eyesight. It’s watching the many humming birds feed at his feeders, or the egrets feed in the southern cypress swamp behind his home.
Today, look for the “some,” not the many. See if you, like John, can find that lost joy in the few.