Fellowship at the Ranch

Ed Jones

The 1950s were an exciting time to be a boy who loved baseball while growing up in New York State. I can clearly remember being led to the auditorium to view the Yankees playing the World Series on a small black and white TV.

On Oct. 5, 1953, they won a record fifth world championship. And, in 1956, Don Larson hurled the only perfect game in World Series history, a 2-0 win over Brooklyn in Game Five at Yankee Stadium.

Our Little League team traveled to Fenway in Boston to see the Yankees in the early 50s so that we could also see Ted Williams. Whitey Ford smoked him.

As powerful and intoxicating as the emotions were in the moment, it was faux joy, and it evaporated quickly. It didn’t take long for the Yankees to begin to struggle, and merriment was replaced by other, less pleasant emotions in the fanbase.

Maybe baseball isn’t your passion, but you don’t have to look very far for other sources of fleeting joy. We careen from thing to thing, hoping the next pleasure will give us joy.

Fleeting joy makes you smile for a moment but leaves you empty and searching again before very long. Here are a few examples:

* We spend more than we should chasing the temporary high that purchasing and possessing give us.

* We entertain ourselves too much, hoping that the numbing joy of fantasy worlds will help us cope with the real world we live in.

* We work too much, hoping that achievement will make us feel good about ourselves and our lives.

Real joy, however, is more than a temporary elevation of your emotions. In fact, you could say that real joy is fundamentally more than an emotion.

Joy is an inner peace and rest, based on what you know to be true, resulting in a life of thankfulness and expectancy.

Real joy is not the result of things that are happening around me, but a sturdy rest and peace that I bring to the things around me that change the way I think about and interact with them.

Real joy is vertical. It results from being in a personal relationship with the Creator and Ruler of the universe and resting in his plan for the world. Real joy is rooted in a belief that what God has told you is reliable and accurate.

Real joy is rooted in a radical recognition that God is working his unstoppable, wise, and gracious plan and that he will not relent until his will has finally been done.

And when nothing appears to make sense, you can awake with the confident joy that his plan is marching on and that he will win!

An unwavering joy that does not melt in the face of difficulty is found only in knowing God.

“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalm 16:11)

Ed Jones pastors Fellowship at the Ranch Church at Robson Ranch. This nondenominational church meets at the Robson Clubhouse on Sunday mornings at 10:30 a.m. For information, visit Fellowship’s website, www.fellowshipattheranchchurch.com.