It was a bright, sunny morning as Brother Littlejoy
walked down the street toward the railway-station.
But somehow the brightness of the morning was not
reflected in Brother Littlejoy's face. He seemed gloomy;
his gaze rested upon the ground. As he entered the
waiting room, he saw a man with a smiling countenance,
and he said to himself, "Why, there is Brother Joyful."
Brother Joyful, seeing Brother Littlejoy, hastened to
him and shook hands with him warmly and said: "Good
morning, Brother Littlejoy. What a fine morning this is!
It seems that all nature is rejoicing in the spring
sunshine. But, Brother Littlejoy, why do you look so
gloomy this morning when everything else seems so bright?"
"Oh," said Brother Littlejoy, "I have so many troubles
and worries and perplexities, so many trials and
difficulties, that it seems I have little joy in my life.
I never can understand how you are always so joyful.
You always have a smile for everybody and never seem
to have any of the worries and troubles that other
people have. You seem to be, as Paul said, 'always
rejoicing.' How I wish I were as you are! It certainly
must be a happy life."
"Oh," replied Brother Joyful. "I think I have my full
share of the troubles of life. You know every one must
expect them. We all have plenty of them, but that is not
the cause of your trouble. It is not the number of trials
and perplexities people have that keep them from being
joyful; for some of the most joyful people whom I know
have many cares, sorrows, and troubles. There is just
one thing wrong in your case, Brother Littlejoy--you
have not learned how to work God's joy-machine."
Brother Joyful laughed, and his eyes twinkled as he said,
"Come over here and let me give you an object-lesson."
So they walked over to the side of the room where two
machines were standing side by side.
"You see this weighing-machine," said Brother Joyful,
"I will just step upon it and get weighed." He stepped
upon the platform of the machine, but the indicator
remained at zero. "Why, it seems it does not work this
morning!" "Of course not," answered Brother Littlejoy,
"you have to drop a penny in the slot before it will act."
Then Brother Joyful took a penny from his pocket and
dropped it into the slot. The indicator immediately flew
around on the dial. "One hundred and seventy-two pounds,"
said Brother Joyful. "That is just what I weighed two
weeks ago. Now let us try this one, and have some music."
So saying, he took a disc from the rack and adjusted it
in the machine and pressed the lever, but nothing moved;
no music came forth. "Why," said Brother Littlejoy, "it
will not play until you drop a nickel into the slot."
"Oh," said Brother Joyful, "that's the way!"
He dropped a nickel into the slot, and the machine began
sounding forth its melody. Sitting down on a seat nearby,
they listened until the music ceased, when Brother
Joyful said: "You see I might have stood there on the
platform of that weighing-machine all day and wished to
have known my weight ever so much, but I should not have
found it out until I had dropped a penny into the slot.
We might have stood there, by the music box all day, and
wished to hear it play; but until the nickel was dropped
into the slot, there could be no music.
Now, God has a joy-machine, and it works on the plan
of the slot machines. You can see its picture almost
anywhere in the Bible. But there is a real place where
you can get the joy--real joy and there is plenty of it.
This music box will play a tune for each nickel dropped
into it, and so God's joy-machine will yield you a heart
full of joyfulness every time you can get it to work,
and it always works whenever you proceed right. Some
people merely stand around and look at the box. They
see others getting joy out of it and often try to get
joy; somehow it does not work for them. The trouble is,
they do not put in the coin; in other words, they do not
do what is necessary to get the machine to work. The
joy is there, plenty of it, enough for everybody;
there is no reason why people should be without it."
"Well," sighed Brother Littlejoy, "I would give almost
anything if I knew how to get joy like you; but I suppose
it is not for me." "Right there is where you are mistaken,"
said Brother Joyful. "Take another lesson from those
machines yonder. They are set out in plain sight, and the
public, everybody who wishes, may, by dropping coins into
the slots, get what the machines have to give. The more
coins dropped, the better the owners are pleased. They do
not want the weights, they do not want the music; these
are provided for the public; and whosoever will, may have
his full satisfaction on certain conditions.
Now, God's joy for his children is just the same-the
more they have of it, the better pleased he is. The more
joyful they are, the more joyful he is. You are mistaken
in thinking that you are denied joy. You are not denied it
any more than you are denied music from the music box.
If you know how to operate the box and are willing to
pay the price, you may have plenty of music. It is
equally true that if you are willing to pay the price,
you can work God's joy-machine all you please."
"Well," said Brother Littlejoy, "I do wish I knew how.
And what do you mean by the price of joy?"
"It is something many people have not learned yet," answered
Brother Joyful; "but I will tell you the secret. I will
tell you how I get God's joy-machine to operate. A
Specified coin is required to operate these machines, but
there are many different that will work God's machine.
Sometimes one thing will do it, sometimes another, and
sometimes it takes several things together.
The first thing I try is obedience. Whole-hearted obedience
to the Lord never fails to bring me a good supply of joy,
but that is a price many people are not willing to pay. They
would like to have the joy, but when it comes to obeying
God and throwing their whole soul into that obedience, they
draw back. Often they obey reluctantly, with more or less
unwillingness in their hearts, or they want to do it just
a little differently from God's way. That kind of obedience
never makes the joy-machine work. There are others who are
willing to obey God, provided he will do so-and-so to suit
them. Such people wait a long time for their joy. So long
as the heart is closed up against God's commands, you can
count on God keeping a lock on the joy-machine.
"Sometimes, and very often too, we have to drop some trust
into the slot. If you are doubting God and questioning
whether he means what he says, or whether he will keep
his promises, the machine will not work. When I want a
feast of joy, I make sure that I am obeying God, and then
I tell him that I believe him, that I trust myself and
my all completely into his hands, and that I feel perfectly
safe in doing so; that I believe his eye is over me and
his everlasting arms are beneath me and that he will work
out everything for my good and keep me in whatever
circumstances I am placed. That makes the joy-machine
work. Often it brings 'joy unspeakable and full of glory.'
"Of course, there is something else that goes with
obedience and trust, and that is really a part of them. It
is submission. Unless our hearts say, 'Thy will be done,'
the joy-bells will not ring much. If we get any joy, it
will be only a sort of human enthusiasm. I say the heart
must say this. It is not enough for the mouth to say it;
the heart must not say it reluctantly or hesitatingly, for
the joy will not come until the heart submits unreservedly.
"Praise is another thing that makes the machine work;
that is, the kind of praise that comes from the depths of
the heart--the kind that comes spontaneously from a deep
appreciation of God's goodness and mercy. Only those who
obey God have this kind. We may shout God's praise loud
enough to be heard two blocks away; but if we are not
obeying him, he knows it is a pretense, and it will not
work the machine. One may be ever so enthusiastic, and
seem to be very happy, but if he is not obeying God,
what he gets does not come out of God's joy-machine.
Praise amounts to much when there is obedience back of
it, but is nothing but noise when it is otherwise.
"Sometimes it is patience and long-suffering that make
the machine work. Sometimes when opposition or accusation
come or when railing, abuse, scorn or similar things
must be borne, the joy-machine does not work immediately.
We have to put a good supply of patience into the slot,
and perhaps suffer a while; but when the proper time
comes, they will make the machine work all right.
"A smile or a cheery word or a bit of song, a kindly
greeting, or almost any kindly act put into the slot
may fill up our cup with joy when we are not expecting it.
Sometimes nothing but enduring a hard trial will start
the joy flowing. One may not be very joyful during the
trial, for the joy generally comes at the end of the trial.
Some people think that it would be pleasant if they could
put their trials into the slot and make the joy-machine
work, but it does not work that way. It is the endurance
that makes it work, and the endurance will not make it
work until it is dropped into the slot; that is, until
we have endured through to the end of the trial.
"Then, I find things in my pocketbook, too, that I
can drop into the slot to make the machine work. Money
in the pocketbook will not make God's joy-machine work
any more than it will make yonder machine play music.
When people look into their pocketbooks and see only
money, the only joy it can make is a sort of selfish,
human joy. I know of people who can see something
besides money in their pocketbooks. Why just the other
day, Brother Sympathy looked into his pocketbook and
saw a sack of flour there for the Widow Grimes. And
last fall one day, he looked into it and saw a whole
ton of coal for old Mrs. Benson and an overcoat for
Tom Jones, and a little later he found a pair of shoes
for Johnnie Peters. Of course, he took them all out and
delivered them to their owners. I suppose you wonder why
his face shone so in meeting. It was because these things,
and many more like them, kept God's joy-machine going.
"Now, Brother Littlejoy, I have told you a few of the
things that will make the machine work when put into the
slot, and I am sure that if you will use them, your
joy-cup will not be empty much of the time."
"Well, Brother Joyful," said Brother Littlejoy," you
have surely taught me a lesson. If that is the way to get
joy and if I can have it as well as anybody, I think I
shall try to get my share in the future. But how am I to
get rid of all my troubles and worries and heavy burdens?"
"Why," answered Brother Joyful, "you are working the wrong
machine; you do not get such things from the Lord." "What
do you mean?" asked Brother Littlejoy. "Why, Satan has a
slot-machine also, and many people are working it overtime.
Some good people are working it, but they do not know
they are using Satan's machine. "Please explain yourself,"
said brother Littlejoy.
"It is this way," replied Brother Joyful; "Satan has a
great machine, or I might say several different ones, and
there are many different ones and there are different
things that can be dropped into the slots to make them
work. But none of the things that work God's machine will
work Satan's. Now, you have, you say, trouble and gloom
and such things. These come from Satan's machine. This is
the way it works: You drop some unbelief into the slot,
and you get darkness and fear; doubts, and you get gloom
and despondency; disobedience, and you get condemnation;
fear, and you get weakness; murmuring, and you get
discouragement. Oh, there are many things you can get
out of Satan's machine; and he is very glad to have you
get them. Drop in some cross words, some fretfulness,
some self-will, a little pride, a little suspicion of the
brethren, a little envy, or anything of that sort, and
you will get a return from Satan.
"Now, as I said, Brother Littlejoy, you have been working
the wrong machine and if you will just think a while,
you may be able to tell what you have been putting into
the slot to get these things that you would like to be
rid of. Perhaps it is a little disobedience or self-will
or unbelief. Make a good prayerful search and find out;
then stop dropping things into the devil's slot machine,
turn your attention to learning how to operate God's joy
machine, and I am sure you will soon see a gratifying change."
As Brother Littlejoy walked out of the door, he said to
himself, "I think Brother Joyful is right; I will begin
working the other machine."
The story above is an uncopyrighted work by C.W. Naylor
and is featured, along with many others, on Jerry Boyer's
wonderful website called Heart to Heart. Please just
click the Heart to Heart link below to visit Jerry's site.
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