A couple of weeks ago, I shot my best golf score at Huntsville Country Club, a 77. Having finished my round, I couldn’t help but tell everyone. The club pro asked how my round was and I was glad he asked. The cart boys heard the story. The girl who served me a diet coke heard about it. And of course my wife and son who are both golfers had to hear the shot by shot details of my round. I couldn’t help but tell everyone I saw. And some I just called, and they unwittingly picked up only to have to hear the blow by blow recounting of my golfing victory. I was on top of the world! There was a bounce in my step. I was exuding confidence with a beaming smile.
I imagine I was feeling much like the disciples did as they returned from their short term mission effort. They reported to Jesus their great triumph, “even the demons are subject to us!” I’m sure their confidence was abundant. There was nothing that they couldn’t handle, “in Jesus’ name.” And they felt courageous, conquering, powerful, and fulfilled. But Jesus quickly brought them down to earth, or maybe even burst their bubble by reminding them where true joy is found. Jesus responded, “Do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” (Luke 10:20)
Why is it so easy to let our joy get captured by passing personal achievements instead of lasting eternal positions? It doesn’t take long for these conquering apostles to once again fall to unbelief and confusion. It didn’t take long for my golfing prowess to be brought back to earth as I followed up my best round with an 84 and 85.
What if our joy was limited to our performance? What a roller coaster ride we would live. But finding and knowing joy as our names are written in heaven is a constant joy with which life’s uncertainties and our inabilities cannot meddle. It’s an untouchable joy.
Jesus reminds us through the parables of lost things that “there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” (Luke 15:7, 10)
Where do you find your joy? And will it last?