Rob Gronkowski is many things. Selected four times as a Pro Bowl and All-Pro player, he is the first tight end to lead the NFL in receiving touchdowns. He is also known for his pranks. For instance, after quarterback Tom Brady’s Super Bowl jersey was stolen and then recovered, Gronkowski stole it from him during opening day ceremonies for the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park.
Now he might be adding White House Press Secretary to his list of achievements. Gronkowski and many of his New England Patriots teammates were in Washington this week to be honored for their latest Super Bowl win. He dropped by a press briefing being conducted by Press Secretary Sean Spicer, a well-known Patriots fan. Gronkowski emerged from a door behind the podium and asked, “Sean, need any help?” Spicer grinned and replied, “I think I got this but thank you.”
Even though you probably didn’t make Time magazine’s list of the “100 Most Influential People” in the world, it’s still a good day for good news in the news. For instance, NASA tells us that an asteroid the length of six football fields came closer to us than at any time in four hundred years but nonetheless missed our planet. Research indicates that happiness is crucial to learning for teenagers, the function of a demonstrated connection between well-being, belonging, and achievement. Even if you’re not happy, you can be happy about your lack of happiness: research shows that women who are “less cheerful and more proud” at work are more likely to be promoted to management positions.
Joy is a frequent theme of Scripture. We are taught to “rejoice in hope” (Romans 12:12) and to “count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds” (James 1:2). We can do this when we are “filled” with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18) because joy is one of the “fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22).
C. S. Lewis famously claimed that “joy is the serious business of heaven.” Here’s what he meant:
“While we are in this ‘valley of tears,’ cursed with labor, hemmed round with necessities, tripped up with frustrations, doomed to perpetual plannings, puzzlings, and anxieties, certain qualities that must belong to the celestial condition have no chance to get through, can project no image of themselves, except in activities which, for us here and now, are frivolous. . . . It is only in our ‘hours-off,’ only in our moments of permitted festivity, that we find an analogy. Dance and games are frivolous, unimportant down here; for ‘down here’ is not their natural place. Here, they are a moment’s rest from the life we were placed here to live. But in this world everything is upside down. That which, if it could be prolonged here, would be a truancy, is likest that which in a better country is the End of ends. Joy is the serious business of heaven.”
It is also a persuasive witness on earth. Our culture knows something of happiness but little of true joy. Nehemiah told his people, “The joy of the LORD is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). When people see such joy in your life, they will want what you have.
Have you asked the Spirit of God for the joy of the Lord yet today?
Jim Denison, Ph.D., speaks and writes on cultural and contemporary issues. He produces a daily column which is distributed to more than 113,000 subscribers in 203 countries. He also writes for The Dallas Morning News, The Christian Post, Common Call, and other publications.