What Brings God Joy
So recently someone asked a really thought-provoking question that to be honest I had not thought much about. It was this – what did we think brings God joy?
It really is fascinating to think about. Is it the stars in the night sky? Maybe the majestic mountain ranges that reach towards the heavens, perhaps that is the thing? Maybe it’s the diversity of all the creatures from mosquitoes to the blue whale.
So, what is it that brings God joy?
As I was brainstorming and creating what was quickly becoming a long list of things that might bring God joy it occurred to me that perhaps scripture might say something to help me answer this question.
It turns out that it does. In fact, Jesus mentions it in numerous parables. They are in what I call the silly story parables in homage to Veggie Tales (IYKYK) because they are so absolutely ridiculous. 1
All of these are the lost and found parables. A sheep is lost, a coin is misplaced, a rebellious son leaves and then all are found, and a huge celebration ensues.
These parables are utterly ridiculous. Who leaves 99 sheep unattended to go look for a sheep not even smart enough to stay with the herd? Or who throws a party after finding a coin…a party that costs more than the coin itself? Or who forgives and fully restores a disrespectful, disobedient belligerent son who has brought shame upon the family as well as cost them a fortune without any consequences or even a proper tongue-lashing?
Do you see what I mean about those stories? They are silly to the point of absurd. Yet these parables say God acts like this and has great joy by simply spending time with you and me.
My Dad’s mom, who we called Mema, lived in Elberton, Georgia. She lived at 17 Oak Street in a small two-bedroom, one bath, white painted house that had a gravel driveway and a small front porch with 2 metal rockers and a small metal glider.
Each and every time we visited when we pulled up, she was sitting there eagerly awaiting our arrival.
She could not track us on the Find My Friends app. We did not have a cell phone to call to say we were close. But every time we came, she was on the front porch waiting and anticipating our arrival as if royalty were coming.
Before we got out of the station wagon or later full-size van, she would be telling us to give her a hug and saying how much we’d grown while simultaneously saying how we looked like we needed to eat!
Such excitement and eager front porch anticipation continued even when I would drive down from Presbyterian College to spend a weekend with her. That same welcome was extended to any friend I brought with me, including a pretty girl named Laura.
Every time I arrived, I knew without a doubt that I was welcomed just as I was, and I was loved unconditionally just because it was me. Mema made certain that her greatest joy was simply my being there at her little home at 17 Oak Street.
It sounds silly or even ridiculous that someone would be so excited to see me. I mean I walk into lots of places, and no one gets that excited to see me, to be honest.
Yet, I believe that this reaction that my Mema had towards me each and every visit is exactly how God reacts when we spend time in our lives with the one who created us.
Yes, God’s greatest joy is you and me. It is what caused him to send his Son – so that through him God might know us even more intimately.
May we live joyfully because we know and experience that love – love even greater than my Mema’s love towards me. And may we also love one another in such a silly way - rejoicing when we spend time together even if it just gliding on a squeaky front porch swing as we say, “oh my you have grown, you look great, give me a hug tell me about everything I cannot wait to hear!”
In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
PS – Veggie Tales was a faith-based cartoon for children. Each episode included silly songs from Bob and Larry who were a tomato and cucumber, respectively. Here is my favorite!
1. IYKYK – if you know you know.