“Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” Romans 12:15
This past weekend, I had the privilege of witnessing over twenty people give their lives to Christ through baptism at one of the weekend services at my church. Throughout the course of the weekend, well over two hundred lives were surrendered to Jesus Christ through baptism. Over two hundred! I would call that a reason to celebrate!
In fact, the culture of our church has become one that truly does celebrate this life-changing decision. We shout and cheer as each person emerges out of the baptism waters, signifying their old life being buried with Christ and rising to new life in Him. We erupt in applause, and tears are shed by many. Ok, if I’m being honest, I all but weep during baptisms. There is something about seeing an individual give their life over to Christ in such a public way that moves me to tears every time. Tears of joy, tears of rejoicing that Satan has lost his grip on one more. Praise God!
I believe that we find it almost easy to rejoice over these public moments that are widely celebrated as a body of believers. Likewise, I believe that grieving with those who grieve also comes somewhat naturally to most of us. But what about the seemingly less significant moments of every day life, the ones that don’t receive the same press? What about the details that aren’t illuminated with lights, music, microphones, and big screens? When our friends achieve their goals, do we rejoice with them as easily? When our loved ones excel in their workplace or in their ministry, do we so readily rejoice alongside of them?
Or do we envy?
Do we covet?
There seems to be an underlying level of discontentment in the hearts of all mankind. Good is never quite good enough. There is an insatiable desire for more. We get what we wanted, and we still end up wanting more. Others get what we want, and we get bitter. Why? Why does it seem harder to rejoice with those who rejoice?
Because we’ve forgotten to practice thanksgiving.
Every day, we have the opportunity to thank God for more things than we could probably count, but how many of those things do we forget to thank Him for? Why have we so easily fallen out of thanksgiving? A people who fail to give thanks will inevitably become a people who fail to be content. Let’s get back to rejoicing. Let’s get back to celebrating. Let’s get back to thanksgiving. Praise God for the good, not only in your own life, but also in the lives of those around you, and begin to see your world shift.
Thanksgiving breeds joy.
Thanksgiving fosters contentment.
Thanksgiving produces peace.
So, rejoice today, friends. Celebrate what God is doing all around you.