1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Rejoice ever more.…
If it be a part of Christian charity to alleviate the miseries of mankind, then the cultivation of a cheerful spirit is a Christian duty. Why should you lighten the sorrows of the poor by your alms, and make your own house miserable by your habitual gloom? And if you have learnt any thing of human nature, you will know that among the pleasantest things that can find their way into a house where there is anxiety and want, are the music of a happy voice and the sunshine of a happy face. The best person to visit the aged and the poor — other things, of course, being equal — is the one whose step is the lightest, whose heart is the merriest, and who comes into a dull and solitary home like a fresh mountain breeze, or like a burst of sunlight on a cloudy day. No one can make a greater mistake than to suppose that he is too cheerful to be a good visitor of the sick and wretched. Cheerfulness is one of the most precious gifts for those who desire to lessen the sorrows of the world. It can do what wealth cannot do. Money may diminish external miseries; a merry heart will drive the interior grief away. It is possible to cherish and encourage this spirit of joyousness, even when it is not the result of natural temperament. Consider what it is that depresses you. If it is the consciousness of sin, often confessed, never heartily forsaken, appeal to Him who can pacify as well as pardon; master for a single week the temptation to which you habitually yield, and you will find yourself in a new world, breathing clearer air, and with a cloudless heaven above you. If it is incessant thought about your own personal affairs, escape from the contracted limits of your personal life by care for the wants of others. Determine, too, to think more of what is fair and generous and noble in human nature than of what is contemptible and selfish. Those who distrust the world and think meanly of it can never be happy. There is sin enough, no doubt; but there is more of goodness than some of us suppose. It makes my heart "merry" to think of the patience and courage with which many whom I know are bearing heavy troubles; the generosity with which some of the poor relieve the distresses of those more wretched than themselves; the firmness which some are showing in the presence of great temptations; the energetic devotion of others to the highest welfare of all whom their influence can reach. Christ has not come into the world for nothing. If sometimes it is necessary to dwell upon the moral evil which clings even to good men, and upon the terrible depravity of the outcasts from Christian society, I find in Him a refuge from the sore trouble which the vision of sin brings with it. He is ready to pardon the guiltiest, and to bring home to Himself those who have gone furthest astray. Why should those who have seen God's face be sad? "In His presence" both on earth and in heaven "there is fulness of joy."
(R. W. Dale, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Rejoice evermore.
WEB: Rejoice always.