Psa. 73:25-26 Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.
What is it that really makes you happy? Is it a four day weekend or maybe a vacation at a remote Caribbean hideaway? Or maybe it would be a new car or a brand new wardrobe. For someone else it may be a house in the country or winning the lottery so that you never have to work again. For others it may be to have success in your chosen field, to have your name known for doing something exceptional. For many years as a pastor I think my happiness was totally connected to my success in ministry, you know, “how’s the crowds and how’s the money?” None of us ever really face the stark reality of what makes us happy. I did that for the first time in 1994. It was that phrase “How’s the crowds and how’s the money?” that finally got to me. That was what a pastor friend of mind asked me after he had heard that the joy of the Lord had broken out in our church in New Orleans. I hate to say it but I heard myself in his words. The Lord began to deal with me about joy and what real joy was all about. Jonathan Edwards spoke often about the source of a Christian’s joy, listen to his powerful words.
“that whatever changes a godly man passes through, he is happy; because God, who is unchangeable, is his chosen portion. Though he meet with temporal losses, and be deprived of many, yea, of all his temporal enjoyments; yet God, whom he prefers before all, still remains, and cannot be lost. While he stays in this changeable, troublesome world, he is happy; because his chosen portion, on which he builds as his main foundation for happiness, is above the world, and above all changes. And when he goes into another world, still he is happy, because that portion yet remains. Whatever he be deprived of, he cannot be deprived of his chief portion; his inheritance remains sure to him.”
Have you ever seen God as your chief portion in life? I am not talking about His gifts or His blessings, I mean God Himself. That is the dilemma I found myself in in 1994. I had to face the ugly truth that my joy had always been based on the Lord’s blessings on me and my ministry and not on God Himself. The outpouring I was experiencing was, thankfully, not only exposing my sin but also making this life of joy in Christ available to me. Before that encounter, I really I had no idea about the Lord being my portion. Now I finally understood. The crowds and the money can come and go in the church world, but the joy of the Lord is eternal.