The Source of Our Joy

“When we make others happy, we experience the joy that human beings are meant to experience.”

Have you ever found the perfect gift for someone, the gift you knew would delight that person like no other?

I was once shopping for a birthday gift for a friend. He was a geologist and I was poking around one of those science oriented gift stores looking for something that might be appropriate. Eventually I made my way to the back of the shop where I found, buried beneath a few other forgotten texts, a Stratigraphic Atlas.

It is probably safe to say that the majority of readers out there have never heard of such a thing, neither had I. But as I leafed through it I discovered that it was a collection of maps dealing with the layers of rock and sediment that make up the continents of North and South America.

“Perfect!” I thought. “This is something he might appreciate.”

I took it up to the register and even the clerk couldn’t believe I was buying it. She called other employees over to show them that someone was actually buying “that book.” the book they thought would never sell.

I simply smiled and told them I had a friend I thought would like it. I payed for it, took it home, wrapped it, and then I had to wait a week or so for the birthday party. I was pretty sure I had made a good choice and couldn’t wait to see how my friend would react. I was not disappointed.

He opened the gift, his eyes lit up, and the joy and excitement he felt was obvious to all. He wanted to share it with everyone but even his girlfriend just smiled, patted his hand with a “yes its very nice,” and went on to other things. But my friend spent every moment he could steal from his guests, pouring over the esoteric maps of the layers of rocks and sediment that we all take for granted as just “the ground.”

I do not remember many of the gifts I have given throughout my life, but I remember that one, just because of the sheer joy it gave my friend and the pleasure it brought me in doing so.

When we make others happy, we experience the joy that human beings are meant to experience. We are created in God’s image and so the activity that will bring us the greatest joy is the activity that most characterizes God, giving good gifts to others and making them happy. That is what God does because God is love.

We are all called to preach the Gospel, the Good News of man’s salvation to the entire world. We are called to preach Christ. There is no greater happiness for us or for others, than to help someone find a true, lasting, personal friendship with Jesus Christ. His friendship gives hope and meaning to both our triumphs and our struggles in this life.

So why would we not be His missionaries? Why would we not tell others about God’s forgiveness, mercy, and power? Bringing others to Christ, and bringing Christ closer to others will bring us more joy than anything else. Why would we not want to spread joy throughout the world?

Pax Vobiscum

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