Saturday, March 23rd
Leap: to spring free from or as if from the ground; jump
Luke 6:22-23 (NRSV)
Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you, revile you, and defame you on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, for surely your reward is great in heaven; for that is what their ancestors did to the prophets.
I want people to like me and understand me. I want mutual love and care to abound between myself and those who know me. So to imagine I would “leap for joy” if people were to exclude, revile, defame, and even HATE me seems impossible! How could anyone find joy in those circumstances?
The answer is found in the words, “on account of the Son of Man.” This phrase clarifies what we are to do, what we must remember, and who we can cling to- so that we can and will experience that abundant joy in the midst of our trials.
~ We need to be certain that our words and actions (those which seem to agitate and upset folks) are truly being done only for Jesus or on behalf of Jesus for others. We must know in the core of our being that we are doing the right thing. We must examine our motives and our behaviors to be clear that we are not intentionally being hurtful or trying to get our own way. We must purely feel that our actions are sacrificial for us and only beneficial for Jesus. Joy is ours as we walk with integrity in humble service to God.
~ We must remember that “our reward is great in heaven.” What we are enduring now is minutia compared to our eternal joy and rest. Our time here is finite, but our lives in joy with Christ will continue forever. In this finite time, we are to do all we can to bless God and others, to reveal bits of heaven here- even as we suffer to accomplish this. Knowing that our suffering is only for a small time, we can anticipate our eternal joy (which leads to earthly joy)!
~ We can always cling to Jesus. We know that Jesus is with us and will continue to be with us, no matter what. Even if we were to be totally excluded from friends or family, we have a true and forever friend in Christ. We are never alone, never left to our own defenses. Jesus will be our joy-bringer.
In those times when we do know so profoundly that we are doing the right thing for Jesus or for others on behalf of him, we will feel an inexplicable peace. We will feel our integrity is intact. We will feel a sense of serenity in spite of everything. Oh, we will feel the pain of rejection and hurt- very much so- but in spite of this, it is truly “well with our souls.” When we do things on account of the Son of Man, we will even have an incredible lightness of being that enables us… to leap.
Blessed are you…
All definitions are excerpted from the Merriam-Webster online dictionary at https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/
Photo credit: Aaron Burden on Unsplash