A Joy Not a Job – Ed Dunn
Our Plain Truth Ministries team was working its way through a full agenda at a production meeting a few days ago. With those of us in the office around a conference table, joined by Brad Jersak (who lives in British Columbia) as he connects via Zoom, we hold these production meetings once a month.
We use this time to plan the content and timing of upcoming issues of our two magazines, partner letters, special letters, upcoming podcasts and videos, website blogs, books to be published, as well as any number of events on our PTM calendar. The time is also enormously beneficial in making sure we are updated about each other’s activities. Needless-to-say, we are never short of agenda items to talk through in this meeting – this monthly meeting is a time together we greatly look forward to.
Towards the end of our last production meeting, we got talking about how the work we do is a joy, not a job. As we often do, we began to reflect upon our team, the people we serve and the breath of fresh air that it is to share the good news of the gospel and our lives in Christ Jesus with so many each day. As a team, we truly enjoy one another’s company, and share a work environment that is tremendously upbeat and supportive. We are all quite different in our skills and talents and stages in life, yet Plain Truth Ministries is a place of great love and heartfelt care. And, the work we do here together each day is a joy, not a job.
So much of life can feel like a job, and not a joy. We often wrestle personally in the tension between the two. Whether it’s the 8:00 am-to-5:00 pm grind of a busy career, the family dynamics we try to skillfully navigate, the health we once had but maybe are now struggling to maintain, or just the stresses and demands of keeping up with everything that is asked of us in daily life, it can be difficult at times to feel the joy. It all can feel too much like a job.
The Apostle Paul put it beautifully when he wrote: We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed (2 Corinthians 4:8-9, NIV). Paul’s words offer us such comfort. We are not alone when life feels so difficult. Paul’s words offered comfort to his readers and listeners in his day. Centuries of Christ-followers have walked this same path before us. And, many Christ-followers will walk the same path after we are gone.
“Find a place inside where there is joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.” – Joseph Campbell
We know that joy comes from within, not from without. Joy is a fruit, a gift of the Holy Spirit, which resides in our hearts through Christ Jesus. Our heart is Christ’s domain. Our heart is where he works within us and, as we yield to him, lives his life through us. This is the place within from which we feel his joy. His joy flowing out of us shapes our perspective.
Paul goes on to complete his thought and remind us of this Christ-centered perspective: Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal (2 Corinthians 4:16-18). Paul reminds us that we fix our eyes on Jesus and on eternity with him. We rest in his grace, in his indwelling life and in his transforming work within us. As we do, we feel his joy and share the excitement of eternity with him and with each other. We share that joy with the world around us.
What makes the work we do here, in the offices of Plain Truth Ministries in Southern California, and the work in which you participate with your prayers and financial support, a joy and not a job?
- The message – the gospel, the Good News and our shared life together in Christ Jesus. Sharing this message is the highest calling, and we feel so blessed to be able to do so.
- YOU, our friends and partners – your calls, letters, cards, emails and prayer requests – all make this a joy, not a job. We could not share the message of our shared life in Christ Jesus and his grace with so many around this world without you and your generous support.
- AND, of course, what a thrill and abiding joy it is to receive other calls, letters, cards, emails and messages of all kinds containing requests for help, for answers to questions, for literature of all kinds as well as prayer requests. From all of us here at Plain Truth Ministries, thank you, our beloved and deeply appreciated teammates, for helping us help them!
As Christ-followers, we give thanks. We feel and share Christ’s joy from within, with you, with each other, and with all the world. Our hearts are full, and though we all struggle with the challenges and demands life can place upon us, we rest in Jesus. We rest in his grace. We are not crushed, in despair, abandoned and destroyed. We are in Christ Jesus, and he is in us. And, we will share eternity with him.
In Christ Jesus’ name,
Vice President, Plain Truth Ministries