Summary: Sermon 14 in Galatians series. What should we do when our Joy seems to have faded?
What Has Happened to all your Joy? (Gal 4:12-20)
At BHQ, my first real job with any career potential, I started in the warehouse and worked my way up quickly, into the office, into sales, into management.
I was there when we had a record years, so good that we got all of the sales and management people together in Chicago to celebrate our success, something around $200million in one year if I remember correctly.
It was a lot of fun, it was easy to be excited about the job, as a salesman, I had some success, we landed a nice contract with one of my customers, which made it possible for us to open a new location in Topeka, which I got to manage.
Things were going so well, I had a spiritual renewal in Topeka, got baptized, came back to KC to start another new operation for the company inside a steel mill. Steel mill’s were our niche market as a company.
But the steel industry went south, and with a lot of our eggs in one basket, our company fell hard. Steel companies were filing for bankruptcy left and right, the steel mill in KC we were in filed for bankruptcy and closed the mill, I had to lay off everyone I had hired out there.
I went back to the KC sales branch as the RD manager, and we had to begin laying off people there as well. Management took a pay cut, the magic was gone, it wasn’t so easy to be fired up about work.
The company pulled through, its still going, which is a testament to the leadership of the company.
Not long before I left the company, I remember having a conversation with another manager, in the hose and belting department, his name was Dennis.
He had been in the industry for a number of years, had been with our company, then worked for another hose and rubber company, and had been back with BHQ for several years.
He had put his whole life into his career for the most part, and he was feeling down about our situation. I was trying to cheer him up, I told him it was just a job, things would get better. Try not to let this get you down.
He just looked at me, and he had a one word question – HOW?
There was a lot in that question, How? I had a family to go home to, I had a relationship with Jesus, things much more important to me than a job, but Dennis didn’t have Christ in his life, and he didn’t have much family, he was divorced, had a daughter, but didn’t get to see her that often, she lived in ST. Louis I believe.
There are ups and downs in any job, any relationship, in anything worth doing or having
My job at BHQ, in the beginning, it was new, I was fired up, it was easy to be passionate about my work. But as time wore on, and things got tough, it wasn’t so easy anymore, I lost some of that zeal.
Our walk with Christ can be like that sometimes too, don’t you think?
In the beginning, you are on fire for Jesus, full of gratitude for his Salvation, in awe of his power, utterly broken over the your sin that put him on that cross
But over time, you can lose some of that zeal, we begin to take his grace for granted, the edge wears off of our passion, and when things get tough, sometimes we get angry at God, we blame him, and we wallow around in self pity, wondering what happened to our joy
Gal 4: 12-20 (NIV) 12 I plead with you, brothers, become like me, for I became like you. You have done me no wrong. 13 As you know, it was because of an illness that I first preached the gospel to you. 14 Even though my illness was a trial to you, you did not treat me with contempt or scorn. Instead, you welcomed me as if I were an angel of God, as if I were Christ Jesus himself. 15 What has happened to all your joy? I can testify that, if you could have done so, you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me. 16 Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth?
17 Those people are zealous to win you over, but for no good. What they want is to alienate you from us, so that you may be zealous for them. 18 It is fine to be zealous, provided the purpose is good, and to be so always and not just when I am with you.
19 My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, 20 how I wish I could be with you now and change my tone, because I am perplexed about you!