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A joy that lasts
February 1, 2010
by Rev. Mark Little, Stockholm Lutheran Church, Cokato

A chill wind is howling out of the north, the likes of which I haven’t heard in a long time. It seems to fit with a bit of the melancholy mood that hangs over many Vikings fans after the recent loss to New Orleans.

I haven’t watched a Super Bowl in its entirety for many, many years – many things in life have had greater priority. But our boys are of the age where football is high on the list, and it is fun to be a Vikings family, and have watching the game become family time.

I am thankful for games of many kinds – games are a good gift from God, when kept in proper perspective, and not allowed to take over one’s life. Football is a fun game to watch, but I am thankful that the greatest joy in my life does not depend on my team winning a championship.

Life in the love and ways of Jesus gives us a foundation that doesn’t disappoint us, and doesn’t depend on anything we do. We all can experience more joy when God is the source – an ongoing, constant source of joy.

Life in Christ certainly is no “picnic” all the time, however. Indeed, life can be more challenging at times when one is actively trying to live in God’s love, and follow and serve in God’s ways.

But when the joy of the Lord is our strength, when our lives are rooted in God’s love and God’s goodness, and in serving God and others, our lives will be more steady, more content, and have more overall joy, that is not so “up-and-down” and dependent on success to make us feel good.

I am thankful to know, from a friend of the family of Brad Childress (the Vikings coach), that he is a faithful man. As hard as he works to win, Childress knows you’ve got to keep first things first.

Games and hobbies and sports are good gifts from God, but the successes come and go, and they can leave our lives and emotions “flat” if we depend on only them to make us feel good.

A few Vikings games, or fishing trips, or music concerts, or any other hobby you enjoy are part of God’s good “spice of life” that he has given us all to enjoy. But day by day, life in God’s love and God’s ways leads us to joy that cannot be taken away.