How do you like to start your day? A good cup of coffee? A favorite treat? Whatever food or drink you choose, I hope it is accompanied by a smile of joy today!
But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.
Psalm 5:11 – NIV
Being a Southern girl myself, I am quite partial to biscuits, especially those made the good old-fashioned way. My favorite combo is one topped with bacon, egg and cheese. Pair that with a sweet tea with lemon, and I am in breakfast heaven.
Yes, I know. All my cardiovascular nurse buddies out there are appalled right now at the mere thought of the calorie and cholesterol load, but a girl is entitled to a little treat every now and then. So alas, Eric and I make a weekly stop at a local fast food chain called Biscuitville. As the name suggests, they make some of the finest examples of this Southern delicacy.
Over the years, we have gotten to know the regular morning crowd. We’re on a first name basis with several of the employees. We even have our favorite booth near the back of the dining room. It’s a great spot because it’s close to Mr. H’s table.
All the regulars and the staff know Mr. H. You can’t miss him. The sound of his merry chuckle greets you the moment you walk through the door. His delightful voice carries across the bustling room and envelops you like a snug warm blanket.
Every morning without fail, Mr. H finds his way to the restaurant, sometimes walking, and other times hitching a ride with a friend. He posts up at the long table near the huge bank of windows and begins his morning greetings to passersby. Perhaps it’s his winning smile or his gleeful laugh, but regulars and strangers alike never fail to pause and speak to him. Before long, he is surrounded by a crowd of his retired cronies, and they will happily shoot the breeze together for an hour or two.
No matter the age, everyone is drawn to Mr. H like a magnet. He picks at the toddlers and teases the ladies. He has a way of making you feel like he was just sitting there waiting for you to show up and make his day.
What sets Mr. H apart from others is that Mr. H has the gift of joy. It pours forth from him like a rushing waterfall. Standing in his presence, his joy washes over you. I cannot speak a word with him without smiling. As I munch on my biscuit and sip my sweet tea, I love to listen to him chat with the other customers. At the sound of his exuberant conversation, I invariably find a grin spreading across my face.
No doubt about it, Mr. H is a fountain of joy. It’s not that his circumstances are so jolly or that he hasn’t a care in the world. While I don’t know much about his personal life, I know enough to know that life hasn’t been a bed of roses. I am quite sure that his joy doesn’t come from circumstances, but from a much deeper source. Though I have never had a deep faith discussion with him, it is quite clear to me that Mr. H knows Jesus, and that knowledge is the source of his joy.
Now go back a few paragraphs and notice that I said Mr. H has the gift of joy. His joy is not merely a state of mind, but a gift he chooses to open every day. Surely his joy is the fruit of the Spirit, but this man does something many of us fail to do. He takes his gift and uses it to bless others. He doesn’t hoard it or hide it. He chooses daily to give it away.
Over the past year, I have missed the merry sound of that joyful chuckle. With Covid precautions, the Biscuitville dining room was closed, the drive through offering the only option for our weekly biscuit treat. Somehow the biscuit didn’t taste as good without the sound of Mr. H’s laugh tickling my ear.
Now that Covid restrictions have lifted, the Biscuitville dining room has reopened graciously affording us the long awaited opportunity to happily return and reclaim our favorite booth. Imagine my joy when I yanked open that glass door for the first time in a year and found the gleeful sound of familiar laughter wafting through the air. Thanks be to God! For there sat Mr. H, alive and well, and giving his gift of joy away once more.
Surely I am blessed by the merry laugh of Mr. H whenever I cross his path. His joyful attitude never fails to encourage me. I wonder. Would others say the same about me? I know the joy of knowing Jesus, but do I put forth enough effort at spreading that joy around?
Let Mr. H be our example to emulate. May we take our eyes off our circumstances and focus on the source of true joy that is available to all of us. May we grasp the gift of joy, and like my jolly friend, choose without fail to give that blessed gift away.
You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
Psalm 16:11 – NIV
O Good and Gracious God, thank You for the gift of joy that comes from knowing Jesus. Thank You for those in our paths who cherish this gift and share it with others. What a blessing they are to us! How they brighten our world! Help us cultivate Your gift of joy, and choose without fail to give it away.
In the Joyous Name of Jesus, we give thanks and praise,