Summer is in full swing in our little valley home. The children have abandoned a reasonable night time schedule; the temperatures have been sizzling in the 90s; the fireflies are out in all of their glory.
But something even more telling has hurdled us headlong into fun in the sun: the arrival of the dreaded ice cream truck.
This predatory creature always seems to know just when dinner time is. It summons children like the pied piper. Doors are recklessly flung ajar as soda pop music is piped into the air, cajoling them into a trancelike state. The children with less astute hearing are soon enlightened by their friends, and it doesn’t take long for the streets to come alive with young voices.
Last night as I sat on the front porch with my eight-year-old, he began to plead his case for a tasty frozen treat. I reminded him that we have a whole box of perfectly good popsicles in our freezer. They’re just not packaged as nicely. They’re not wrapped up in his favorite cartoon character, and they certainly don’t come with a song.
As I lectured, my ears pricked up. What was that? It sounded like the carousal music from a fair long past. My heart skipped a beat. I wanted to run down the street in pursuit of that joy on wheels. Instead, I gave my boy five dollars and contented myself to live through him in the next moments.
As I watched the doors flapping and the legs flying, I was caught up in the excitement of it all. In the midst of the fun, a thought occurred to me: Maybe we sometimes don’t put Jesus in the right packaging. We wrap Him up in Sunday mornings and hymns that are hundreds of years old; in pious looks and judgmental glares; or legalism and rituals that mean nothing to those who have never been to church.
Where is the fun in that?
We should be living, breathing ice cream trucks for Jesus, but instead, we’re more like the mail truck. We deliver the message with little excitement. No song. No treat. Just a plain old box.
Anyone who really knows Jesus knows the joy there is in knowing Him. Yet, we greedily hoard away this delight, concealing it from the very ones who need to see. Philippians 4:4-5 tells us, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.”
Evident to all. Not just to our brothers and sisters in Christ. Our entire lives should reflect the joy of the Lord. As we run after him, we should be enlightening our friends, calling joyfully to them to follow. When they see our happiness, they will surely check this thing out. When they hear the music of our hearts, their hearts will begin to beat in time.
Oh, if only it were so simple! But remaining joyful from day to day is no easy task. Even my eight-year-old would grow bored with the ice cream truck if it came every day. We get caught up and bogged down. We grow tired. We get discouraged.
But the great thing about Jesus is that He doesn’t come around only when it’s convenient. He doesn’t just go down the streets with the most customers. He’s everywhere. He will encourage us. He is every flavor. He is the song. He is the joy.
So, go ahead. Chase the truck. Rejoice in the Lord. Let your gentleness be evident to all.
This is a repost from a couple of years ago. My little one, of course, is now ten…but he still chases the ice cream truck.
And I do too.