“Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.” — Romans 12:15
Someone tells a great joke and everyone laughs. You hear that Sally’s long time prayer has been answered and everyone rejoices. You go to the park with the other young Moms and you enjoy great conversation and genuine joy as you watch the children play together. Tragedy strikes and you get that unexpected call to participate in the prayer chain for your church family. Cancer has finally run its course and your Daddy is taken home to be with the Father in Heaven.
Life can be a roller-coaster of rejoicing and weeping. It is these times that I believe Paul is talking about when he encourages us to rejoice and weep with our brothers and sisters. This little verse with so much to say follows the passage where Paul encourages and even exhorts the church to use their gifts for the edification of the body of Christ. In Romans 12:10 he says “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;” indicating that we ought to be spending time with like-minded people and then in verse 16 he brings this point home:
Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.
He admonishes the believers to disregard “status” and spend time getting to know one another. When you have a relationship with someone, you will rejoice and weep with them. It is the natural and “real” thing to do.
Rejoicing and weeping is all about caring. I can’t help but be reminded of the Biblical account of Jesus when he was at the house of Simon the leper having supper. We see the account in several places in the Bible but the one that I would like to use for illustration is found in John 12:1-8. In this passage we see Mary of Bethany’s unencumbered love for Jesus as she anoints his body:
Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead. 2 There they made him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him. 3 Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment. 4 Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, which should betray him, 5 Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor? 6 This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein. 7 Then said Jesus, Let her alone: against the day of my burying hath she kept this.8 For the poor always ye have with you; but me ye have not always.
Jesus’ response to the outrage of her spilling the precious ointment was that she was doing the good thing. Soon Jesus would no longer be in their earthly company because He was going to die. Mary was spending time with Him; preparing for that day when He would be crucified.
Now Mary’s sister Martha had a response to all the time Mary was spending with Jesus too. She was annoyed because there was work to be done and Mary was not helping Martha with that work. Take a look at how Jesus responds to her:
But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. 41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: 42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her. (Luke 10:40-42)
Again, Jesus chastised Martha for trying to stop Mary from doing “that good part”. It is clear from this passage that the Lord is teaching that spending time with people is a very important thing. He even said that it is “needful”.
Rejoicing and weeping are needful. Sometimes no words are needed, just a smile, a hug or even a few tears and we are in the right moment, doing that thing which is needful.
Things to think about and do:
1. Is it natural for you to rejoice and weep with your brothers and sisters in Christ?
2. Are there times that you can look back upon and realize you could have loved more and worked less?
3. Find at least one more Bible passage that can encourage another believer today and send it to them, handwritten or electronic.
Related Bible passages to study: Matthew 26:6-8; Mark 12:2-4; Luke 7:36-8; Phil 4:4-9Photo: fanpop . com