Summer seems to be the time that my friends fill Facebook and Instagram with all kinds of amazing and beautiful experiences. One friend spends half her summer at the beach, another's husband and daughter are in Rwanda, a couple of friends went to England, friends from England traveled to the States, a dear friend went to NYC and was able to share her favorite hangouts with her kids and I was able to take a picture of my feet on a black sand beach during a once in a lifetime trip to Hawaii. Really, it is truly amazing to see all the joy captured in these posts and pictures.
Now it is time for a quick gut check- When you hear about other people's blessings do you rejoice or are you envious? I have to admit- sometimes I am envious. It is hard to rejoice with some people. This inner conflict- most of us have had at one time or another- is the reason that told to rejoice in the Bible. Romans 12:15 says, "Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn." If rejoicing with others was always natural and easy, we wouldn't have to be told to do it. It's like picking up dirty clothes, my kids have to be told to do it because they don't do it naturally.
Though it may go against our natural instinct to rejoice with some people, the Holy Spirit can empower us to rejoice with those who are rejoicing. The antidote to envy is giving glory to God and trusting that just as God blessed our friend (or someone we don't like) , He has blessed us and will continue to bless us more. His resources aren’t limited.
An important way to encourage each other in our faith is to rejoice in the goodness of the Lord in our friends’ lives. Being able to share joy with others is so important that the word “Rejoice” appears over 100 times in both the NIV and King James Versions of the Bible. It is a command and a response. When we share with others what God has done for us, we can encourage them to trust that God can do exceedingly and abundantly even greater things for them.
Jesus told a story about a woman who lost a valuable coin- worth about a days wages. She swept and cleaned her house until she found the coin. "And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’" Luke 15:9 "The idea behind the prefix “re” is to do something again- i.e. redo, return. So, “to rejoice” means to feel the joy again. The woman had the initial joy of finding the coin but the joy was multiplied because she could rejoice with her friends.
At times, I am hesitant to share my blessings because I don’t want to be perceived as bragging. The proper heart in sharing blessings requires us to not seek glory for ourselves but instead to glory in what God has done. God calls us to rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn. It is much easier to rejoice with someone who has shared her hard times as well as her good times. When we are authentic with others, they will be able to mourn with us in the hard times and rejoice with us in the times of blessing. By remembering the struggles of the past, we will be able to appreciate the blessings in the lives of our friends and our own life." Embracing Change, p. 180
God calls us to rejoice with others because when we rejoice with our friends, we get to enjoy and celebrate the blessing again and again.
Leave a comment on this blog, Facebook, Instagram or write an old fashioned letter to share how God has blessed you. Not to brag but to allow others to share your joy, take a minute to write down a blessing so you can read it and rejoice again.