Our favorite baseball team, the S.F. Giants, are just about at the point where they cannot make the playoffs. True, they have not yet passed the "statistical point of no return" - but in all practicality, their season is over. It ended when they lost their most recent series with the Arizona D-Backs; who are play-off bound. (I really do not like snakes.)
But there are still a few games left to play in the season, and it is their job, even when it is not their "joy", to suit up and show up. Once there is no longer any reasonable expectation of making the playoffs, most sportscasters call these "meaningless games."
There are times in life when we all feel like there is no longer a reasonable expectation of some grand achievement for our efforts, but it is still our job to suit up and show up. The question then, for a Christian, becomes can we still do it with joy?
It all depends upon the source of our joy. If it is all about "me" and what I can achieve, and what recognition I can gain from the achievement, then once the excitement factor is gone, it can become the life equivalent of a "meaningless game".
But Nehemiah 8:10 tells us that "... the joy of the Lord is your strength." And when that is the case, then we can still suit up and show up and even enjoy doing it; even though there will be no promotion at the end of the project, no write-up in the paper about our prowess, no accolades to reward our efforts.
I don't know about you, but I often forget that the phrase which precedes "the joy of the Lord is your strength" is an admonishment which simply says, "Do not grieve."
This does not mean that we should never grieve in life. Grief is human and natural and necessary - for a time. But in this context, Nehemiah was encouraging the people of Israel not to grieve about things which were past, and would not be recovered, things that could not be changed, things that had not turned out the way they hoped they would.
He told them this in the middle of a building project, a wall around the city, that their enemies thought was a complete joke. They were objects of scorn, and people made fun of them for staying with it.
But they just kept showing up, and doing what they could.
Maybe the remaining baseball games for this season for our team are "meaningless games." But in life, as long as it is our job to suit up and show up, there are no meaningless games. Only meaningless excuses.
Meanwhile, we still can work with joy, if we know Who the source of that joy is. With God there are no meaningless jobs, as long as it is work we have been given the strength to do.
Hope your day and week are filled with joy, and strength, and good things. Until next time ... Marsha