I guess that you could say that I have always had a flare for the dramatic. My mother often times told the story of when I sang a solo back in Kindergarten for our class graduation exercises. For the final song, I stepped forward from the line of students on the stage in the auditorium at the old St Rose Parochial School and began to sing: ♪“Now all have done their very best…”♫ Then when it came time for the rest of the class to join in, I suppose I wasn’t satisfied with their efforts so I turned around and waved my arm to encourage them to sing with more volume and passion!
I always have enjoyed getting audiences excited about what was going on in front of them, be it a youth meeting, at Children Church or during a Sunday service with the adult congregation. Over the years you could say I learned how to work a crowd… which I feel is a necessary trait when leading youth or children’s groups! I even got fairly good at taking disturbances or interruptions and turning them around into something that acted to pull the group more intently into what we were doing at the moment.
This morning, for whatever reason, I was reminded of the Rock Opera we performed in our Junior College years at my future wife-to-be’s church. I had written the story and penned the actor’s lines along with the theme song and then selected ten popular tunes to go along with and emphasize the point of the relevance of Jesus in our 1970’s culture. We had carefully planned the presentation of the first song in order to capture the attention of the audience and then keep them involved throughout the program.
When it was time to start, we turned down the lights in the beautiful theater like setting of that Baptist Church, waited for a moment of silence and then with ascending volume I went to the mike and counted off “1-2-3-4” leading the band into the rock-n-roll based theme song complete with electric guitars, bass, piano and drums. I guess it worked as we were asked to repeat the first showing the next weekend so people could invite their friends… and best of all, we filled the front of the auditorium after the altar call at the end of each show!
In some respects it was a ground-breaking event at that somewhat conservative church. When we were asked by the Pastor to play the theme song during the Sunday service previous to the first weekend performance, we actually had a few people walk out of the service because they felt it was atrocious that we actually had drums during church! It would seem that we’ve come quite a ways since then.
Earlier this weekend as I read what I thought was probably the last time from the end of Luke chapter fifteen, I was surprised by some more revelations on the end of Jesus’ story about the Prodigal Son. In Luke 15:32 the King James Version tells us that the Father of the two boys explained to his eldest son when the younger brother returned after riotous living that “It was meet that we should make merry and be glad for this thy brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.”
It was the word “meet” that caught my attention. It was also this word that caused me not to study originally from the King James Version! It is one of those old English words that has a totally different meaning into today’s times. But it was one of those “1-2-3-4-Bam!” moments that instantly drew me closer to what I believe the Lord was trying to teach His listeners that day. Robert’s Word Pictures says that “It expressed a necessity in the father’s heart.” Thayer’s Greek Definitions explained its usage as a “necessity in reference to what is required to attain some end. A necessity established by the counsel and desire of God.”
It is easy for us to celebrate when non-believers accept Jesus as their personal Savior and Lord, but how about all the times throughout our daily lives when we or those around us find God’s way in the midst of all the confusing advice or suggestions we have to shift through that come to us from all kinds of differing directions? Or when we or they find out that God’s way is better than our own… and we decide to go with it? And how about the epiphany moment when we see the need to open up an area in our lives that we knowingly or un-knowingly had closed off to God! Then of course there are those very special times when God miraculously answers our prayers.
According to this verse, those are times where it is NECESSARY to celebrate and be happy! And the more I thought about it, the more I began to realize that if we are walking in faith, then we shouldn’t be waiting until we see the manifestation of what we are believing for, but start being happy about it as soon as we go to the Lord with our requests! Jesus established this process in Mark 11:24 when He told His disciples: “Therefore I say unto you, What things soever you desire, WHEN YOU PRAY, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” (KJV)
Hummmm… “1-2-3-4-Bam!” There it is! I think the Lord was telling all of us that He expects to see a lot more smiling, happy Christians out there in the worlds we live in across the globe! Sure we all have rough times. I had one of the roughest weeks last week since my wife and I started dealing with the attack on her health… and yeah I was tempted… very tempted to get upset and be depressed at what seemed to be the backward progression of things, but every time I felt like that, I couldn’t help but to finally give in and smile and be happy as I heard that little voice inside of me reminding me of the truth and finality of God’s promises in His Word and the comfort of knowing that He will NEVER neglect or abandon us! (See Joshua 1:5)
Knowing and trusting that His Word will always prevail should be enough to give us the “1-2-3-4-Bam!” shake of God’s reality and force us to smile and be happy… in and through any and all situations we face! What do you think?
Now I didn’t say it would be easy. But it does get a little easier every time we yield to Him! Have a great week. Stay in tune and in trust to His Word, and keep asking yourself… “What or Who’s Word am I expecting to trust and therefore give me the ability to make me happy today?”