“‘Meaningless! Meaningless!’ says the teacher. ‘Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.'”-Ecclesiastes 1:2
What did you get for Christmas this year? Two years ago I got an air fryer, but I have to say I am a bit frustrated with it. It doesn’t give me recipe ideas, gather ingredients, mix things together, or prepare the various parts of the food. I pretty much have to cook everything myself, and all it does is heat things up for me. Now, you might respond, “That’s not what an air fryer is for. You are asking it to do things it was never intended to do. Can’t you just appreciate it for heating up your food in a quick and crispy manner?”
Why am I talking about my air fryer? Because I have been thinking a lot lately about joy.
Joy is something that is talked about a lot this time of year. The Christmas season is filled with joy, and we are simultaneously supposed to enjoy things like gifts and family and also to remember that Christmas isn’t about those things. Sometimes I think Christian kids get the perspective that although they are secretly ecstatic at the prospect of new toys, they are supposed to prefer sitting solemnly on the couch reading the Christmas story in their Bibles over and over again.
So which is it? Should we seek joy from these things or eschew anything “unspiritual”?
In my Bible class last term, I taught my students about the book of Ecclesiastes. The message of Ecclesiastes is that everything “under the sun,” meaning apart from God, is meaningless. However, there is also a recurring theme of enjoying the good gifts of work, food, and drink. Ecclesiastes shows that when we are seeking meaning and purpose in pleasure, labor, knowledge, achievement, riches, or anything else, those things will leave us empty. That is asking them to do something they were never intended to do. However, when we seek God, He gives meaning to all of those things. Life is about God, and with that right perspective, we can find joy in all things.
So, this Christmas season, I hope that you ate all the cookies, spent all the time with loved ones, and enjoyed all the presents. But I hope that you did that with God as your source of joy, because if you were looking for those things to fulfill you, you are probably feeling pretty melancholy this post-Christmas week.
Thank you for all your prayers and support of our ministry. We are seeking to not find our purpose in our ministry, but find our purpose in God, who fills our ministry with meaning and joy.
Till all know,
Matt, Karissa, Ty, and Wyck
We got to spend Christmas celebrating with the other directors and their families. What a joy it has been to be a part of this team!
Last term I taught my English students about how sentence diagramming can help them in their study of God’s Word!
-The most recent leadership meetings that Matt was a part of in another area of PNG went well
-Matt didn’t get sick after his travel, which he usually has been lately
-Ty’s asthma has been a lot better lately after increasing his medication
-Karissa and the boys are enjoying being on a break from school
-Matt is headed to a conference next month. Pray for safety for him and beneficial learning while there
-for wisdom for Matt dealing with some difficult situations at work
-that Karissa can see an eye doctor as her eyes have been bothering her
-for God to send more laborers into the harvest as we are very short on support workers for next year