Romans 12:8
New International Version
if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

Cheerfulness has won over more people than anything else that I know of.

I have been reminded again and again this week of the story of the prodigal son.  One of my favorite stories in the Bible is that of the Prodigal son.  The son came back after many years of rebellion.  The heart broken father was in the field, still waiting for him.  After all those years, dad was still looking for him.

If the father had been angry, or resentful, maybe the story would have never played out.  The son became cheerful when he saw that his father was cheerful.  As a result they were joyfully reunited.  It’s an illustration of our Heavenly Father’s great love for us.  Being cheerful is easy when you know that you have been forgiven.  Cheer is contagious.

My favorite memory of a cheerful Christian was when we were feeding people while driving through a desolate muddy path through the Nicaraguan country side.  One guy came cheerfully running up to us and asked for rice. He never stopped running.  We said, we just delivered it to your house.  He turned around without even stopping and ran in the opposite direction.  I yelled “where are you going?”  He exclaimed happily, ‘home to eat!’.

Talk about enjoying what you were doing!  It is so nice to be among cheerful people.  I think that is a strength of Nicaraguans, their cheerfulness.  That should be the strength of any Christian as well.  The best sermon anyone can speak is through living a cheerful life.

I think the hall mark of any Christian should be cheer.  If you aren’t cheerful, even in trying times, it sends the wrong message.  You can be cheerful, always, if your hope is in the eternal.  A great definition of hope is a confident expectancy.  That’s a sure prescription for cheerfulness.

Romans 15:4
New International Version
For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.

Here is my favorite painting of John and Peter racing to the tomb, with a certain expectancy.  In spite of all their angst, they were soon to be very cheerful!


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