13 December 2010

Full of Joy

1 John 1:4 And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.

If joy is an inner condition that is not dependent on outward circumstances, I cannot think of a better example of true, full joy than a brother by the name of Milton.

We met Milton several years ago on the streets of downtown Orlando. Most Saturday nights he’s around the corner where we set up for our regular public outreach.

He has cerebral palsy. He’s confined to a wheelchair. He can barely move enough to control the lever. He sits with a cup between his knees. I’ve never actually seen him actually verbally ask for money. Every now and he’ll call one of us over to transfer the money from his cup to his fanny pack.

Last time I was down for public ministry in Orlando, I was able to talk to him for a little while and hear some of his testimony. He was a Jehovah’s Witness. When I asked him what made him leave, he said it was too oppressive. No liberty. Now he’s free in Christ. He quoted 2 Corinthians 3:17. Then broke out in song.

He’s always singing. Always praising God. Always happy. Always smiling. Always talking about how good Jesus is. As I was talking to him, another man who recognized him stopped by to talk. Milton told the man about Jesus. If I had been the one speaking, I doubt the man would have given me the time of day. He couldn’t help but listen politely to Milton.

He has nothing as far as this world is concerned. No health. No money. No comfort.

But he has Jesus Christ. He has eternal life. He has spiritual riches. And to him, that’s enough. He has joy.

I’m not sure what happened. Why he’s in the shape he is. But I was talking to him about his daughter. He wanted me to pray for her. He said she was saved. But he said she’s had it harder than he has. Which is hard to imagine. And I don’t know his daughter, but I would doubt that anybody but Milton would see it that way.

But he does. He has Jesus. He has eternal life. He has joy. He’ll get a new body one day. And he’s praising God in the meantime.

Talking to Milton is always a blessing. And it’s always convicting. I don’t know about you, but I have Jesus Christ. I have eternal life. And I have health. And I have some money in my pocket. And I have a nice house to live in. And I have a wonderful family. And I have a great church. And a lot more.

But I’m not sure I have the joy Milton has. At least not in the way that he has it. The only explanation is that even though I have the same spiritual blessings he has, I don’t focus on them as much as he does.

I guess I could blame that on the physical blessings. But I don’t think that’d be right. God wrote a Bible so my joy could be full. God wrote a Bible so your joy could be full. Lord help us be more like Milton. Amen.