Every week here in Princeton, ministers from many different churches get together and share in breakfast and fellowship. In some ways, I thought I might be cheating the church or my family out of some time by attending these gatherings. They are not mandatory and I doubt that anyone would complain whether I attend or not. (However, I have a feeling that if I was less than dedicated to the group I would have to put up with some well intended ribbing.)

This morning I was especially glad to be among my colleagues as we shared a meal and conversation. Although the time of confession about speeding tickets made me a bit uncomfortable there was a bit of advice from one of my colleagues that I don’t think that I will soon forget.

Funny thing is, I don’t know how we got around to talking about enjoying our day and even enjoying every moment when one of my colleagues said, “I used to work with someone who got upset about the way people behaved all the time. One day I asked him, ‘Where do you get your joy in life?’ Of course, they gave the first response people usually give when a pastor asks a question but this time it was right – ‘God,’ they said. ’Well, if God has given you the gift of joy, why would you let any person or situation rob you of that?’”

I don’t remember the rest of the story from there mainly because I began to think of all the times I have let someone rob me of the joy Christ has given me. I think back to times in churches…times in dealing with my colleagues in ministry…times in public places or even on the telephone…and even, I hate to admit, times at home when I let something or someone rob me of the gift of joy that Jesus gave.

One time, when we lived in Parkersburg, I left the garage door open for a couple of days in a row. Then when the weekend rolled around and I wanted to use something that I stored in the garage I found that it (and a whole lot of other stuff) was missing. We had been robbed. But the main reason we were robbed was because I left door open and kind of said, “Come on in! Help yourself!!”

I guess I am writing this today simply because I want to hold myself accountable about not leaving any more doors opens that will allow me to be robbed again – this time of the joy Christ has given me. Who knew breakfast at Bob Evans could be so enlightening! Thanks friends…

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