September 10, 2016

Ron Needed Joy

Ecclesiastes 2:17-26

So I hated life . . . . All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

—  Ecclesiastes 2:17

Ecclesiastes can be tricky to interpret well, but God has used it to speak brutal truth: Life without God has no joy.

My friend Ron once behaved wildly at his pool, out of control. It scared me a little. I think that, for Ron, some simple, childlike fun just “blew his circuits.” Joy was sorely lacking in Ron’s life—not because he was such a sinner, or because he worshiped wealth. He was just so serious as a businessman and so bored with his life.

Every day Ron worked long hours in a grueling industry. Then he drove into his very clean garage, made dinner, and drank wine, all alone. He was beginning, like the writer of Ecclesiastes, to hate life. Playing with my kids that day at his pool—well, it had been many years since Ron had had so much fun without drinking.

Ironically, I didn’t know much about joy then either. I was a repressed, super-conservative, book-knowledge Christian. Every­thing I said in our talks was serious, heavy-gravity Bible teaching from my theological heritage.

So there we often were, two guys sitting in the dark, knowing almost nothing about the joy of God, talking about theology. I suspect even God was bored with us. Maybe it’s to people like us that Jesus said, “Anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it” (Luke 18:17). Do you have the simple trust and joy of a child in your relationship with God?

Lord Jesus, help us to experience the true joy of knowing you, and of growing in you. Amen.

About the author — Keith Mannes

Keith Mannes serves as pastor at Highland Christian Reformed Church in McBain, Michigan. Keith and his wife, Alicia, recently celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary,
and they are thankful for their three children—Eben, Charis, and Breanna.

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