Thanksgiving Day is just about here. This year we celebrate Thanksgiving on Thursday, November 27. Where has the time gone, and how did we get here so fast?
A few weeks ago, in our Epistle Lesson, St. Paul, the Apostle, encouraged the faithful in Philippi, to, “Rejoice always, I will say it again. Rejoice.”
As the Circuit Pastors discussed this part of the Scripture, at their Winkel, (Circuit Pastor’s monthly gathering), the question was raised as to what is the difference between being happy and joy? The answer agreed upon was that happiness is an emotion derived from circumstances and situations that take place outside of us. Therefore, happiness starts on the outside and works its way inside of us. In contrast to this, is joy. Joy is a quality that starts on the inside of us, and is a by-product of faith, or of being in, with, and under Christ, and works its way our in our thoughts, words, and actions.
While I was taking Classes in Family Life Science, at Concordia University, Seward, Nebraska, I had one Professor who told the class that there are some things that are outside of our control. But, also, there are many things we can control, such as: our use of time, money, and other resources, that our God has given to us. His premise was that the more we could control these 3 things in a positive manner, the happier we would be.
This is a lot easier said than done, so, we now consider joy. St. Paul, the Apostle, wrote his words under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. He also was in about the worse possible situation imaginable. For St. Paul had proclaimed the Gospel – “that man is saved by grace, through faith in Jesus as Savior.” But the Apostles’ words did not comfort his hearers. Instead, St. Paul’s words got them so angry that they started a riot, and tried to kill the Apostle Paul. This put Rome, and most especially, the Roman soldiers in a difficult situation. For, it was their job to keep Roman citizens safe in whatever part of the Roman Empire they were in. St. Paul the Apostle was a Jew. He was also a Roman citizen. So, Rome believed that it was best for St. Paul the Apostle to be put in jail, under the protection of Roman soldiers, far from those who wanted to hurt and harm him. It was in this setting that St. Paul found himself serving the Lord, as he now had time and a safe place to write his Epistle to the faithful in Philippi. So, St. Paul says, “Rejoice.”
I know this year in particular, for many, that it might be a little hard to rejoice. The over production of corn and beans in America has driven the prices down low, because of the huge surpluses. Added to this, was the strange weather we had this past summer that did not help the growth of our crops. It is to this that St. Paul says, “Rejoice always, again I will say Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand;
do not be anxious abut anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all human understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:4-7)
Have a Great November Pastor Brad Rick