Are you ready to rejoice? That’s what God commands us to do when we convene to keep His Feast of Tabernacles. But the idea of “rejoicing” goes much deeper than just being really smiley. It doesn’t mean feigning a positive expression. If we don’t understand what God actually meant in that command, we may not be rejoicing properly.
Notice the command: “And thou shalt rejoice in thy feast, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy manservant, and thy maidservant, and the Levite, the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, that are within thy gates. Seven days shalt thou keep a solemn Feast [meaning to be giddy, to dance, or to keep a festival] unto the Lord thy God in the place which the Lord shall choose: because the Lord thy God shall bless thee in all thine increase, and in all the works of thine hands, therefore thou shalt surely rejoice” (Deuteronomy 16:14-15).
One meaning of the word rejoice is ‘to cause others to rejoice.’ Isn’t that what Deuteronomy 16:14 is saying? Your sons, daughters, manservants, maidservants, ministers, strangers: Everyone in your feastly community—your little kingdom—should be rejoicing!
Ask yourself: Why would God command me that my wife rejoice? Or my children? Or my servants? Or my fellow ministers? Or the fatherless and widows? That’s a tall task, and there’s a great vision behind it. It’s so much deeper than just being chipper.
God’s command to rejoice means that not only we rejoice but that we cause others to rejoice!
How do we do that? Let’s discuss two ways.
First: Set an example of rejoicing.
Happiness rubs off on others. People are drawn to someone who is positive and radiating.
Take the responsibility in your family to be the one who is radiating positive energy. That will do more to infuse your family with joy than simply telling them to be happy, or sticking their noses in the Scriptures.
The Bible also mentions our manservants and maidservants. Today, we could apply that to those who serve us at the Feast—whether those serving us in the Family of God, or those in the world, such as the hotel staff or servers at restaurants. They should see our joy, and it should rub off on them!
God inspired the Apostle Paul to coin the phrase “helpers of your joy” (2 Corinthians 1:24) to describe His ministry today. This is what we are all to be practicing today. Think about it: In the World Tomorrow, we will be causing others to rejoice—to be happy and unafraid! We’ll be helpers of their joy—and that’s the world that we’re learning to live in as we keep the Feast.
In a literal sense, how will we help others’ joy in the World Tomorrow? By radiating the light of the Family of God. Pastor General Gerald Flurry, at the 2004 Feast, alluded to the fact that how brightly our faces shine in joy today is likely a direct reflection of how brightly we will actually shine as spirit beings! In other words, our joy today reflects how much we will be able to set that example of radiance in the World Tomorrow.
Today, a minister’s church areas will be a direct reflection of HIS joy, which means a minister must have that joy first. The same principle—joy from the top down—will apply in the World Tomorrow: Our spiritual children’s joy will be a direct reflection of our joy!
Second: Practice, this Feast, putting others’ needs ahead of your own.
Remember, we are to cause rejoicing. If there’s something we can do that will make the coming Feast more joyful for another member, let’s do it.
Helpers in Greek is synergos, and it means to work with—fellow workers, fellow laborers, companions in labor. When it comes to each other’s joy, we are all fellow workers. We all have to work together.
That’s what we’ll do in the Millennium and beyond: work to help others’ joy. Should we not then be practicing that at the very festival that pictures this future?
Remember, God commands that we rejoice, that our household rejoice, and that even our servants rejoice. Strive to help the joy of even the servants who serve us at the Feast—whether those volunteering in various responsibilities at the site, or those in the world serving us at various functions—putting their needs and their joy ahead of our own.
Ask yourself: How can I make it easier for the ushering or security crew at my Feast site to rejoice? How can I make it easier for the activity directors at the Feast to rejoice? How can I make it easier for the Levites at the site—our pastor general, senior minister and festival coordinator, in particular—to rejoice? How can I make it easier for the fatherless and widows to rejoice? Or the hotel and restaurant staffs?
That’s what our job in the Millennium will be all about.
What blessings God will cascade on us at this Feast. And if we strive to set the example in rejoicing and cause others to rejoice, God will bless those efforts—and that joy will increase exponentially!
Use the Feast to be the cause of rejoicing, and look forward to that time when we can fill this entire Earth with—and be the cause of—that same joy.