Welcome to week three of our Family Values series. So far we have learned that in the Family of God, We Can Disagree and We Assume the Best. This week our value is: We Celebrate. It just happened to fall on an appropriate week for celebrating! Happy late Thanksgiving to you!
Celebrating is deep in my DNA. It’s not something that I do every now and then – it’s how I express love to people. I search for things to celebrate. When I read The Five Love Languages (which I loved!), I was convinced that they left out my love language: celebrating. Giving and receiving gifts comes close but are not quite the same. Celebrating doesn’t require money or stuff. You can show people that you’re celebrating them by doing super small things, like sending a text or a Facebook message. Just this week, I sent a work memo to our team and one of the bosses “replied all” that he was impressed with me. Ya’llllllll! I floated right out of our office at the end of the day because he celebrated my effort. It made a huge difference!
Holidays, birthdays, good behavior, a clean house- give me a reason to celebrate and I will run with it! It makes me happy to bust out the confetti cannons and let other people know that they are seen and valued.
Celebration is biblical. Jesus modeled this for us well. His first miracle was at a celebration (John 2:1-11). He lived the perfect balance of discipline and celebration. This is what Jesus has to say about celebrating:
“A little later John’s followers approached, asking, ‘Why is it that we and the Pharisees rigorously discipline body and spirit by fasting, but your followers don’t?’ Jesus told them, ‘When you’re celebrating a wedding, you don’t skimp on the cake and wine. You feast. Later you may need to pull in your belt, but not now. No one throws cold water on a friendly bonfire. This is Kingdom Come,'” (Matthew 9:14-15 MSG).
In other words, go right ahead and celebrate. Live your life! There is time for discipline and fasting, but it is also completely appropriate to make room in our lives for feasting and joy.
“So I realized that all we can do is be happy and do the best we can while we are still alive. All of us should eat and drink and enjoy what we have worked for. It is God’s gift,” (Ecclesiastes 3:12-13 GNT).
We celebrate what God has done. Even in 2020, we have much to celebrate and be grateful for. We may have to look little harder for things to be excited about but they do exist. The searching is part of the joy for me. We’ve made it this far! God has been gracious to us. We have health, a roof over our heads, relationships with people who love us, and futures we can hope for. We need to keep our hearts in a place where we remember what He has done. There has never been a moment that God let us down. He’s dramatically taken care of us and pulled us in close. We have no reason to think that He will do anything other than take care of us in the future. Let’s celebrate Him with a deep trust that He is moving for us and molding us.
We celebrate each others’ successes. One of my favorite messages is called Set Her Up to Win by Charlotte Gambil. She tells the story of the first time she preached, and how older women in her church stood up and “booed” her as they stormed out of the meeting. They were jealous that she was being allowed to speak and not them. They had a broken idea that God favoring Charlotte, meant that His favor wasn’t on them. That seems silly from the outside, but we have all been guilty of similar feelings. It’s really a poverty mentality that believes there is not enough to go around. The truth is, God has more than enough for me AND you! He is not lacking in love or resources.
The first time I preached was also to a group of older women at my home church, but their response was completely different. There were about 10 ladies in the room. They surrounded me, celebrated me, spoke life into me, and stayed for hours as the Holy Spirit fell on us. Do you see what happens when we set the table by celebrating others? It creates an invitation for Him to come and move.
Jesus has so much for you. Don’t miss it by complaining about what you don’t have or competing with others. Set others up to win and then celebrate when they do. In the family of God, if your sister or brother wins, you win as well.
When I’m not in a healthy place, I watch people doing what I want to do and can’t receive from them. It’s like I pull my arms up around myself, trying to protect what’s mine and protect my heart from being wounded by their favor. It’s a normal human response, but it’s wrong. I need to be able to lay my stuff down, trust God’s timing in my life, and receive that person with open arms. This scripture perfectly articulates what I’m trying to say:
“Be devoted to tenderly loving your fellow believers as members of one family. Try to outdo yourselves in respect and honor of one another,” (Romans 12:10 TPT).
God expects His family to celebrate, cheer and hoop and holler for one another! If your celebration tank has been low, can I take a minute to fill it up?!
I celebrate you for showing up to your life. There were times when you could have given up and you didn’t. Even when you barely held on, you held on! I celebrate your strength and tenacity.
I celebrate you for treating others with respect, especially in moments when you didn’t receive praise or thanks for doing so. Your chose integrity. God was with you and He took note of it.
I celebrate your commitment to hard work. You are showing people excellence by your focus and determination.
I celebrate your failures. Yes, you read that correctly. Your failures have sharpened and taught you. You’ve fallen but got back up. Share them with those coming up after you. You have wisdom and influence others need.
I celebrate you for living according to a high standard. For not trying to please man, but God alone. I know that can be a lonely way to live and I cheer you on. You’ve chosen your words and actions carefully. Way to go.
Let’s choose to celebrate one another in the face of pandemics, racial tension, cancel culture, and Presidential elections. Let’s celebrate what God has done for us in the past and look towards our futures with trust. When we feel lonely and isolated, let’s celebrate what He is doing in someone else. Hope and joy will inevitably bubble up inside of us. If God is still moving on their behalf, then He must have great stuff planned for us too. I celebrate what God is up to inside of you today!