Not Meant to be Alone
We are writing these things so that our joy may be complete. (1 John 1:4)
I love 1 John as much as any book in the New Testament. It describes beautifully the love God has for us, and the love we should have for one another. But before the writer gets into the whole discussion of love, he/she first must share the story of this love before her/his “joy may be complete.” Love can only be complete when it is shared.
My first congregation was in Northern Wisconsin. You don’t just happen by that part of the world without a reason. Some people intentionally go “up north” to spend time fishing on the beautiful lakes. My little town was the “musky capital.” Some go up there, often from the Chicago area, to commune with nature. Many others go “up north” to get away from people. It is a great place to hide from the world.
I remember one man who spent his life bouncing from one job to another, never quite making his fortune. He continually strived from one cockamamie-fortune idea after another - ahead of his family, his faith, and everything else. All of a sudden, he looked up one day and he was elderly. No fortune, no family, no faith, or anything else. He ran away from his previous life and vowed to live his final days in the North Woods, alone and away from any reminder of his failed life. Sadly, I do not have a happy ending. He just died alone.
What this poor man never figured out is that joy isn’t found in a vast sum of money. OK, it doesn’t hurt, but money can never be the primary means of finding real and lasting joy. Real joy requires relationship. Not all of us are blessed to have loving, healthy familial relationships, but that makes close friendships even more important. Joy is always possible. Taking the time to develop meaningful relationships is more important than financial fortunes.
Today, think about the people in your life who you love and who love you. Nurture those relationships because they are the most important thing in your life. If your list of loving people in your life is rather small, focus on making more room for others. Joy is found in loving relationships. You do not need to be married or have family close by. Loving friendships can be incredibly joyous. Focus your life on relationships and joy can never be far away.