How do you see the people in your life? Do you see them as annoying? Or as irritating? Or as burdensome? Friends, the people in your life are gifts from God, do you see them that way? If not, then you are robbing yourself and you are missing out on a great source of joy in your life. Because people are gifts.
Henry Nouwen says it this way, “Friendship is such a holy gift, but we give it so little attention.”
Notice that word “gift.” You know, Christmas morning at our house with kids is sometimes a little chaotic, there’s all these gifts and we try to get them to open them one at a time, but somewhere in the middle, we lose control. And it is fun. But because of that, sometimes a couple of days after Christmas we find out that we forgot something. We’ll find a present that was kind of hidden under the tree that was unopened on Christmas morning. Somehow it just got lost in the wrappings or the shuffle somewhere, and it wasn’t noticed until we were cleaning up.
Friends, sometimes the people in our lives are like that, amidst all of the other things we are focusing our attention on, we forget about them. They are like unopened gifts. But very valuable gifts at that! What I mean is, what could be more valuable than the people that God has placed around you? What I’m saying is this, take time to appreciate them, to see the best in them, to be patient with their progress, to love them from the heart, and to pray for them. Because they are a gifts and from the Lord. Paul knew that, and Jesus knew that too, and if you know that, it will bring you joy.
The ultimate example of this for all of us, of course, is the Lord Jesus Christ. He found great joy in people. In fact, there’s a verse in Hebrews that says Jesus endured the cross for the “joy” set before him. (Heb 12:1-3) And what was that joy? The joy that was set before him was you. Your salvation, a restored relationship with you. The grace of the gospel that would bring us back in fellowship with him. Because of that joy, he endured much pain. And friends, when you see Jesus making you his joy, then you can make him your joy.