“Enjoy!” the waitress said upon delivering our meals to the table.
Our group had no difficulty in doing that, for the food was good. But the level of enjoyment depended on our palates as well as the cooking. We may all have what it takes to enjoy life, but unfortunately, some fail to do so. They may be satiated with pleasures, but can’t enjoy the simple things of life. Others know better.
My wife and I once visited a friend of ours, Audrey, on the south coast of England. She spent many years as a missionary in Africa and now lived in the top floor of a block of flats. The accommodation was quite simple and was reached by several flights of stairs. While I don’t think Audrey was financially well off, she was certainly rich in her appreciation of life.
She enjoyed her part-time job and got a real kick out of her voluntary work in a charity shop. The view from her window was a constant delight, particularly the sunsets that lit up her days in more ways than one. In a similar situation many others might mope, but Audrey displayed a zest and enthusiasm for life which was contagious.
Mother Teresa of Calcutta also touched the heartstrings of the world. Many who would not subscribe to her theology have been moved by her compassion for the poorest of the poor.
“Joy is prayer—joy is strength—joy is love—joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls. God loves a cheerful giver. She gives most who gives with joy. The best way to show our gratitude to God and the people is to accept everything with joy. A joyful heart is the normal result of a heart burning with love,” she said.
An elderly gentleman I knew used to put a coin in a charity box whenever it was a sunny day. Some of my Australian friends who like to poke fun at me for being a ‘Pom’ or a ‘Brit’ would say (with a sly smile) that as the old gentleman lived in England it wouldn’t have cost him very much.
Not true, of course! In other parts of the world a rainy day would be cause for gratitude. Sunshine and rain may both be reasons for thanksgiving. Wherever we are living, being appreciative is vital in keeping hearts joyful.
I regard any suggestion that God is a killjoy as slanderous. In fact, he is happy when we are happy and living as he intended us to live. He meant that holiness and happiness should go together.
The apostle Paul said that God “richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment” (1 Timothy chapter 6 verse 17). In another place Paul said that we should rejoice in the Lord (Philippians chapter 3 verse 17). In a nutshell, that is the secret of living life to the full. Life was not merely meant to be endured, it was meant to be enjoyed.