Have you seen one? Have you been to one? By definition, joyless means “not giving or feeling any pleasure or satisfaction; grim or dismal.” (Dictionary of Oxford languages, Google, 2021). Grim? Dismal? Not giving any feeling? Wow. Yup. I have seen it before. To their defense, a church without joy is probably more common than not, given the current world status. But… Um. aren’t Christians carriers to the greatest message ever? Like the GOOD NEWS? Aren’t they suppose to be happy? Joyful? All the time? Well, realistically, we cannot all be happy all of the time. Life is difficult, but overall, we, that is the body of Christ, or the church, should stand out from the world with a hope. A hope that we cling to and rely on to keep us steadfast in our faith.
What causes the joyless church? Well, as mentioned, many people are under great stress and it affects everyone. A worldwide pandemic that refuses to let go of its hostage (the world) is affecting us all, believers and unbelievers alike. But, maybe it is also that we have forgotten the one who brings us hope and joy. Maybe we neglect Him and the message of hope found in the Gospel. Or maybe we have been idle.
The apostle Paul mentions the brothers (and sister, for that matter) who are idle in his letter to the church at Thessaloniki. He writes, “We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies.” (2 Thess. 3:11, NIV). Ouch Paul.
I wonder what he would think of us now? Would he call us idle and busybodies. Perhaps. But, it has me thinking that maybe that is the root of the joyless churches. Not doing anything to help others, except talk. Or argue. Or gossip.
I have felt the most joy whenever I have been sharing the Gospel or offering an apologetic response, or praying with someone, than when I am just sitting in a church service. To be honest, at times, my mind just wanders during the service. I have heard from others, who say the same. Maybe I am letting my worries and stresses crowd my mind, until they drown out the message of the good news. It is up to me then, to change my thinking, to focus ( and to share) with others the joy that is found in the good news. And to serve others. We have a reason for hope and joy, its time to celebrate and rekindle that joy again. -God Bless- Nancy