Summary: Learning how to rejoice during anxiety
Note: I used Max Lucado's book Be Anxious for Nothing as a reference for this sermon series. Many of the quotes come from this book.
Title: The Choice to Rejoice
Theme: From the series of Be Anxious for Nothing
Philippians 4:4-9 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! (5) Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. (6) Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; (7) and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (8) Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy--meditate on these things. (9) The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.
"Paul urges us to “rejoice in the Lord always” (Phil. 4:4, emphasis mine). Not just on paydays, Fridays, good days, or birthdays. But rejoice in the Lord always. You aren’t the first to read the word always and arch an eyebrow. Rejoice in the Lord always?
“Yeah, right,” mumbles the reader from the hospital bed.
“How?” sighs the unemployed dad.
“Always?” questions the mother of the baby born with a disability.
It is one thing to rejoice in the Lord when life is good, but when the odds are against you?
There is another man in scripture who know this challenge. .Joseph predated the apostle Paul by about twenty centuries. But both knew the challenge of imprisonment. Joseph’s jail was dank and dark, a dungeon of underground, windowless rooms, stale food, and bitter water. He had no way out.
And he had no friend to help him. He thought he did. He had befriended two men from Pharaoh’s court. One was a butler, the other a baker, and both were troubled by their dreams. Joseph had a knack for dream interpretation and offered to help. He had bad news for the baker (“Get your affairs in order; you’re going to die.”) and good news for the butler (“Get your bags packed; you’re going back to Pharaoh.”). Joseph asked the butler to put in a good word for him. The butler agreed. Joseph’s heart raced; his hopes soared. He kept an eye on the jail door, expecting to be released any minute.
“The chief cupbearer [butler], however, did not remember Joseph; he forgot him” (Gen. 40:23 NIV). So had everyone else, it seemed. Joseph’s story is one of abandonment.
His brothers had disliked his dreams and swagger and decided to kill him and throw him into a pit. Had their greed not been a feather heavier than their thirst for blood, he would have died. When they had a chance to sell him to traveling merchants, they did.
His father was uninvolved. You’d hope to read of the sudden appearance of Jacob, who searched for his son, rescued him, and took him home. We don’t, because Jacob didn’t. He was MIA.