Apr 16 8:09 AM
Apr 16 8:09 AM
Apr 16 8:09 AM
Friday, April 16, 2021
1 Thessalonians 2:17-20
We live in a very self-aggrandizing world. People are all "Look at me, look at me, look at me." There's even been a new trend in the last five years where an athlete will score a touchdown and they'll point to their back. Do you know what that is? They're pointing to their nameplate, basically saying, "Hey, my name is Smith, or Jones, Sanders, Edwards, Johnson, etc. Look at me, I scored, look at me." There's a lot of self-aggrandizing. Now, there's an appropriate place to thank God for your accomplishments and have what I would call a humble appreciation for what God has done in you. Sometimes the apostle Paul even said, boasting is not profitable. but sometimes it's necessary. Sometimes you just have to stick up for yourself, and you have to list the things you've done. But today, I want to talk to you about something countercultural, and that's this: celebrate someone else.
I get that from 1 Thessalonians 2:17-20. Look at what Paul says to the Thessalonians. He says, "But brothers, when we were torn away from you for a short time, in person, not in thought, out of our intense longing, we made every effort to see you. For we wanted to come to you - certainly I, Paul, did, again and again - but Satan stopped us. For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of Lord Jesus Christ when He comes? Is it not you? Indeed, you are our glory and our joy." So, the evil one put some spiritual obstacles between Paul and his visiting of the Thessalonians. But Paul insists that he wants to visit them, and then he celebrates them. He says, "For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of Lord Jesus Christ when He comes?" Paul doesn't say, "It is me! It is what I did!" No, I like what he says, "Is it not you? Indeed, you are our glory and our joy." That is countercultural! People say, "I'm my glory, I glorify myself, I'm the joy!" and God says, "Celebrate somebody else."
Can you celebrate somebody else? If somebody gets a new house, do you say, "That is great!" but inside you're saying, "I wish I had a house like that"? If someone's child took first place in a spelling bee of school, do you start comparing your son? In other words, we're always kind of trying to gain, but can we celebrate somebody else's success? Paul did. Can you genuinely say, "I'm happy for you?" You know, we've had staff leave. Recently, we had a wonderful, amazing friend, Dan Cymbal, leave. He didn't leave because he didn't like the church. He loved the church. He was approached by another church, aggressively. He said no at first, but then he accepted the job and went to Florida in February. What a courageous move. So when he did that, I had a decision to make. Am I going to sulk because I lose a great friend and a great staff member? Or am I going to celebrate? And as much as I didn't want to lose Dan Cymbal, I made the choice to celebrate. I said I was happier for him than I am sad for us. I'm not always perfect at this, but I want to learn to celebrate others. If you tell me a good story, I want to celebrate with you, not go, "I wish my God would do that for me, etc, etc." Can you celebrate someone else's success? Paul did. You know what I find? When you celebrate someone else's success, you end up being a more satisfied person. When you're celebrating only your success, we have a word for that. It's called narcissism. And narcissists are rarely happy. They're just looking for the next narcotic. Ha ha!
Let's pray. Father in Heaven, help us to get off ourselves and to get on somebody else's team. Help us to celebrate the success of other people, to be joyful for others. I know this, if we do that. people will do the same back to us. Maybe not everybody, but many. And also, it's just fun. It's fun to see other people happy. We live in a sad, depressing world, so give us the courage to celebrate joy in somebody else's life, like Paul did for the wonderful new Christians in Thessalonica. We thank you for this in Jesus' name. Amen.