Thursday, March 19, 2015

Moved by Joy (Devotional) By Ron Shackelford

The daffodils are blooming in the Garden of Grace and The Unknowns continue strong; moving into our third year, I find it incredible that we welcomed a new member and have another waiting in the wings! At our recent meeting we were all inspired by the latest reflection from Ron Shackelford, HR. Here it is for your enjoyment, this fifth week of Lent.

 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.” Matt. 13:44 NIV

When I give up lesser things to gain better things, I can no longer call it a “sacrifice,” because I know I am the beneficiary. Even when doing it for the glory of God, I often sense this calling has, buried within it, the emergence of my higher self. Jesus says such a person is unstoppable, for he has “discovered” the love of his life is a God whose only desire is his highest benefit. “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” No longer moved by sacrifice, Jesus says I am apo tes charas autou, which means “moved by joy.”

“Moved by joy” means joy is the engine of change. One could say “joy is the engine of sacrifice,” except that the buyer never thinks he is making a sacrifice. It's simply the joy of discovering in Christ “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (Col. 2:3) - New Testament commentator Dale Bruner

David Livingston, the famous missionary to Africa, understood being “moved by joy.” He faced numerous trials and losses, eventually lost his wife and his own health. Someone asked him how he felt about all the sacrifices he made. “Sacrifices?” responded Livingston. “I have never made a sacrifice in all my life.”

How do I get in better touch with The Great Treasure? I can keep listening for His voice, which comes through things that move me “by their joy.” I can keep putting joy slightly ahead of sacrifice, knowing that whenever the question becomes either gospel or law, gospel motivation is paramount. The right order is critical:

“Then believers, moved by joy, will sell. The treasure tells them everything they need to do.” - Matthew: The Churchbook, Dale Bruner

It is the paradoxical law of love, for if one asks young lovers if their yoke feels binding, what do they say? To the contrary, the call of love feels akin to Shakespeare’s call of nature:

Nature calls to a place sublime, without bond or tether,
Where a spirit's free to soar, like yonder bird of feather.
Here, Shakespeare said, "one shall see no enemy,
But winter and rough weather."

Let the Treasure affirm the incredible value of your innermost sensitivity to joyous callings. Saying “yes” to them is often saying “Yes” to God, and therefore we must foster saying it often.

Decision of the Day

To sense God’s love residing within, and let it move me to my higher, more authentic and most satisfied self.

Positive Thought

Lord, I believe in your love, so help me stay happy, holy, and motivated every day, saying Yes to life and You.  
About the Author: Ron Shackelford is a pastor (Honorably Retired) and a retired licensed marriage and family therapist. He is the author of Married to an Opposite: Making Personality Differences Work For You. 

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