Just last week as I was entering the grocery store, an older man was heading toward his car with a full cart of recently purchased items. Just by looking, this man appeared to be in his late 60s to early 70s. He had the biggest smile on his face and seemed to be enjoying life (as much as you can enjoy it with the price of groceries these days, but nevertheless…). Then all a sudden he propped one foot on the undercarriage of his grocery cart and began to kick with his other leg as if he were riding a skateboard. After a few aggressive kicks, he planted both feet on the back of the cart and went gliding across the parking lot.
I supposed we are accustomed to seeing a zest for life in the young. But when the more weathered among us can retain passion and excitement for each new day, cool weather, and the blessing of being alive, that represents another level of contentment and peace. After a few moments of reflection, I concluded that I was not nearly as excited about that specific day as the man being carried to his car by a grocery basket and inertia.
This admission on my part was not supported by personal maturity that restricted me from what some might call child-like behavior. Nor was it driven by a general aversion to fun or lightheartedness. I realized in my initial reaction to what I had witnessed that I was somewhat jaded and maybe even cynical against the idea that life could be so simple and lived with such a relaxed outlook.
Why was I so jaded? The answer, to me, was simple – I was tired. I am tired – tired of sin winning the day; tired of unfulfilled expectations; tired of unfaithfulness among believers; tired of personal failings; tired of political unrest; tired of finger-pointing and name-calling; tired of broken relationships; tired of brotherhood Facebook arguments; tired of those who talk about people rather than talking to people; tired of church politics; tired of unresolved tension; tired of shrinking numbers; tired of talebearers and rumor mills; tired of people being left on the fringe; and tired of my own apathic reaction to it all.
The purpose of this article is not to make us feel vindicated when we indifferently shrug our shoulders at the world’s problems and look surprised when someone actually lives with zeal and enthusiasm. It is not to simply list all the tiresome attitudes and scenarios that define the world in which we live. Rather it is to offer a solution. As those created in the image of God and saved the blood of His only Son, we should not be allowing these things to rob us of a zest for life. The solution is, has always been, and forever will be Jesus Christ.
We may not express it by taking a ride on a grocery cart the next time we leave HEB, but we have reason to smile. We have reason to live with zeal. We have reason to hope. That reason is Jesus. Just listen to His own words, “the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). The choice is ours. We can let the thief steal or even kill our love for living or we can trust in the Good Shepherd who brings life with abundance.