An Invitation to Joy
By Greg Wright, March 2006

When Mr. Hunt was accidentally shoved against a cart loaded with refreshments, hardly anyone else aboard the cruise ship seemed to notice. The outcry of man overboard had sent everyone else stampeding to the sides of the ship.

Meanwhile, a steward knelt down to help Mr. Hunt. As Mr. Hunt rose to his feet, he cursed both God and man. He even cursed the steward who was trying to help him. But the steward responded gently and patiently, and with a damp towel, he removed what food he could from Mr. Hunt's clothes and hair. It was quite a challenge, for the man was covered with everything from whipped cream to red shrimp sauce. Nevertheless, with some persistence, Mr. Hunt went from looking like a walking entrée to just looking like a man with dirty clothes.

By the time the steward had finished cleaning up Mr. Hunt, a crowd had gathered around the other man who, just a few minutes before, had been thrashing wildly in the ocean and crying out for help.

It turned out that he was not a passenger at all. Rather, he was a fisherman named Mr. Hill. He had been in the water for a night and a day. He looked so pitiful as he stood there shivering. His face, neck, and arms were red and blistered from exposure. His lips were chapped. He was wearing nothing but a shirt and boxers. His shoes and socks were gone, and he had taken off his trousers in order to inflate them and use them as a flotation device. His wallet was gone, his keys were gone, and as he stood there, he had neither money nor dignity. Yet, he was so happy. So joyful was he over just being able to stand on the deck of that ship that he was smiling and thanking everyone around him. This man had been rescued from death, and he knew it.

Mr. Hunt and Mr. Hill, two men who were standing on the same deck of the same ship: one was happy, and one was angry. One was grateful, and one was resentful. What was the difference? What was it that made their attitudes so different?

I submit that it was this: Mr. Hunt had gotten used to the safety of the ship. For him it was common, ordinary, and expected. Because he took his gracious circumstances for granted, they were not valued enough to outweigh his irritation over being knocked into a cart of food.

Mr. Hill was not used to the safety of the ship. For him it was unexpected, gracious, and precious. So, even in his pitiful circumstances, just being able to stand on the deck of that ship was a reason for joy.

How do you feel about Jesus today? Have you gotten used to Him? Has be become to you like something common, ordinary, and expected?

Can you remember a time when the love of Jesus was more precious to you than anything in the whole world? Do you mourn over your present lack of affection for Him? Do you long to have greater zeal and greater passion for the one who died to save your soul? Then please join me in my own spiritual journey, and together let us seek to learn--in a deeper way--what it means to rejoice in the Lord.

This is your invitation, and this is my mission.

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