I've decided that John must have been thrilled to get out of the family fishing business when Jesus called him that day on the beach. He was not a fisherman. He was a poet! I wonder if John always knew he was made for more than fishing? Was he out there casting nets on the Sea of Galilee half-heartedly waiting for his "real" purpose? Or was it something that slowly came to light as his life intertwined with the life of Christ?
John wrote these words about his own writings: And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. (1 Jn 1:4) I identify with that. I share and write with the hope of bringing joy to those who read what I have to say. But, some translations of the Bible read this way: We write this to make our joy complete. Actually, that word in the Greek is ego - usually translated I, me, or my. And I see that too. It brings me great personal joy to write! When I read comments of how my words have made some sort of impact it brings me even greater joy!
It is interesting to read this verse and wonder why there are different words in different manuscripts. Perhaps some in the early church had a problem thinking that John would write for the selfish reason of his own joy, and decided that surely there was a more noble cause - for the joy of others. Which little word was there first? I'll have to hunt down John the Poet some day in heaven and ask him.
What do you think? If I write out of a noble desire to bring joy to your life do you feel more valued or are you inspired to read more? Would that change knowing I write just because it makes me, myself and I happy? Or think about this, if we serve Jesus because we want to bring joy to others is that preferable to serving Jesus just because it thrills us to serve him? Is personal joy a noble motivation? With that question floating out there, remember - Joy was a motivator for our Savior:
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2