Wednesday, January 17, 2007


I was listening to the radio program of Kevin Swanson, the head of the Colorado Homeschool Association, as he interviewed Steve Maxwell on preparing sons to be single-income breadwinners. (Audio can be downloaded here, if you want to hear the whole program.) During that talk, Maxwell had a wonderful insight that applies to all of us, regardless of age or gender.

He said (paraphrased), "If our joy comes from entertainment, our joy is limited by income. But if our joy comes from serving others, we have the potential for a lifetime of joy."

I had never thought of it that way. But look at the truths embodied there. If our joy is in our stuff, or in our fun, or in our recreation, or in our travels, we can only have joy until the money runs out. So for many, you can have joy for two weeks of vacation a year or maybe for a time at Christmas when more stuff is accumulated along with the debt to pay for it! Now, how sad is that?!

But if we find our joy in serving others, there doesn't have to be money involved! The only thing necessary is us...and some time. As long as we have breath, we can serve others in some capacity, and if we have come to realize that service creates joy, then we have the ability to have joy throughout our entire lives.

So let's take it a bit farther and look at the implications:

1) If we are stepping out of the American Disney Rat Race for a life of joy in serving others in the Name of Christ, what does that say about us and more importantly, about the Lord we serve? What kind of witness do we have? I dare say...a HUGE witness! But one thing's for sure, it would take conviction...a conviction that our culture is absolutely wrong about where to find LASTING joy...and courage...courage to buck the culture (even the church culture) that would try to drag us back at every turn.

2) How much money is saved if we aren't spending it on stuff and entertainment that never seems to provide that lasting joy? What if it were spent on becoming debt-free? Or even better, on advancing the Kingdom of Christ? How much money would be freed up just in a few families alone? It's mind-boggling.

3) What would happen if we were to teach our children to find their joy in service instead of chasing Madison-Avenue-created "needs?" Would debt ever be the crippling issue it is for so many young adults? No. Would they (especially the young men) possibly have enough money to buy their first house debt-free at a very young age? Before you scoff: That's what both of the Maxwell sons did at age 21! Imagine the gift they bring to their marriage by providing their wife a home with no debt! Wow.

4) By serving others as ambassadors of Christ, we spread the Kingdom and bring Him glory... and we get joy. We would be doing the will of God, and we would find rest for our souls in the process.

This is a worthy idea, not just for each of us as parents, but as something we should seriously consider implementing in our lives so we are living examples as we teach our children the joy of service. We will all be better for it, for we would loose the chains of bondage to the next vacation or to the next trinket. Our children will be better for it because they will avoid that bondage altogether, learning from a young age where to find true and lasting joy: In our Heavenly Father and in His service. And because we are Christians, God will be glorified in our joy-seeking.

1 comment:

Tony said...

Thanks for the link. This is not something I had thought of in this way. In many ways we, by finding joy in entertainment, trade the spiritual capital we should be seeking for secular, or to use good old puritan language, profane capital.

Again thanks.