Monday, July 25, 2011

Joy Advertises Jesus

Book Give Away at end of July, comment or reply to enter for drawing of A Still and Quiet Soul: Embracing Contentment.

A rural Arkansas church had a “penny march” where Preacher Bill Hyatt witnessed the joy of a young boy and sent me this story: Youngsters saved for weeks to contribute their copper coins to God, and on the appointed day, a four-year-old boy in the habit of coming to church with his grandmother “brought a pint jar FULL of pennies.” Children gave their donations immediately after Sunday school, and their pennies pinged into a specially built small church building. The congregation watched as this boy’s turn came and he meticulously deposited the pennies.

            At first, he only dropped in one penny at a time, and then a few at a time. “He would put in a few pennies and then do a little dance.” Bill Hyatt said, “I told the folk just to let him take all the time he wanted because he was getting joy out of his giving!”

            Another joy-story comes from Amy Hollingsworth’s The Simple Faith of Mister Rogers. She had the blessing of hearing a bell choir made up of people with physical impairments. The director used color-coded cards to signal the players. It was not a perfect concert, but pure joy to witness.

During the bell rendition of “Amazing Grace,” one short man in the back, color code maroon, “shook his bell so vigorously, I thought the tongue of the bell would dislodge and go flying.” The choirs’ enthusiasm and their offering to the Lord brought tears to Ms. Hollingsworth’s eyes. 

I’ve studied the Bible book of Zechariah this past week looking for a verse to pass along to you. Zechariah like the prophet Haggai wrote to encourage the rebuilders of the temple in Jerusalem. Some Jewish captives had been allowed to travel back to the city as a rebuilding team. They also brought back temple treasures stolen by Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar.

Imagine the joy these chosen people experienced as they returned to their homeland to rebuild their beloved temple – the place where God promised to meet them. I envision even the adults happily trotting toward Jerusalem – dancing a bit, twirling around because of their joy.

In “Dancing to Zion” Judson Edward’s book about getting a head start on the joy of heaven, he notes a personal goal – to be “true to the Spirit who is rummaging around in my soul.” God-inspired joy is like none other, and the source is not self or accomplishments. In the book of Hebrews, the writer points out Jesus’ joy and quotes a psalm, “God has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy” (1:9). Meaning that Jesus embodied and expressed more joy than any person on earth ever will.

Some trucks have governors on their engines, restricting the amount of fuel, holding them back to a certain speed. I think that Christians sometimes “throttle” expressions of joy. I know I do. What will people think if I keep humming that hymn in the grocery store? Or what will other congregants think if my worship is more outgoing than those around me? I probably should be asking, what will God think if I quench his Spirit of joy.

I’ve been in corporate worship where the congregation remained subdued. But I’ve been in others where each worshiper feels free to clap, lift holy hands, or kneel as the Spirit leads. My hope is that all worshipers will refuse to pass judgment upon fellow worshipers and will simply rejoice that God still moves hearts, and that sometimes adoration is expressed through shouts, hands lifted, and knees bent.

I know that not everyone has the same personalities. Some are more reserved about showing joy in public, and that’s okay. Joy may be expressed in many ways; Choose to let your joy in the Lord shine this week. Our joy advertises Jesus. So, when the Spirit moves you, go ahead do a penny dance, ring a bell, or plaster a great big smile on your face because you above all people are blessed.

Index Verse for Week 29: “Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you – righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey” (Zechariah 9:9).


  1. Hello there! So glad to visit your beautiful blog! Great post and looking forward to following you :) Be blessed!

  2. It's interesting to see how people in the Bible expressed their joy and how others reacted--David dancing before the Lord for example. I've been in churches where you given strange looks if you expressed yourself and ones where you received strange looks if your didn't. I think ones freedom to express themselves depends on what kind of church environment one was exposed to in childhood--wherther or not they were allowed to be expressive. Right or wrong, it's where we are. I love the song I Can Only Imagine, by Mercy Me. There's a wonderful rendition of it my Wynonna Judd at .