When I was a kid, one of my favorite TV shows was The Beverly Hillbillies. One of the reasons I liked that show so much was that the fictional Clampett family was from my neck of the woods, the Ozark Mountains of Southwest Missouri. In fact, there were several episodes of the show that were filmed at the Silver Dollar City theme park in my hometown of Branson, MO. The Clampetts were practically neighbors!
If you ever watched the show you’ll remember that much of the comedy centered around Daisy Moses, otherwise known as ‘Granny’, played by Irene Ryan. Granny was quite a character. One of my favorite memories of Granny is her singing, “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart.” With her crazy hillbilly accent and nutty personality, her singing that song made such an impression on me that I can still close my eyes and see her singing it some 45 years later!
As was the case in many of the popular TV shows of the 1960s, there were often moral and spiritual lessons to be learned when watching. Our society has made great progress in many ways, but the quality of family television isn’t one! The Clampetts moved to Beverly Hills because they had struck oil and had become multimillionaires. In fact, they suddenly had so much money they couldn’t even count it all. They went from living in a 1 room log cabin in the Ozarks to a magnificent mansion next door to Hollywood stars. Yet, there values never really changed.
The one member of the family that was least affected by all their new found wealth was Granny. In fact, all she wanted to do was return to the Ozarks! Money didn’t mean anything to her and the reason for that was simple: She had joy, joy, joy, joy in her heart! The spiritual application is obvious: True joy and happiness come not from the things of the world but from a heart right with the Lord.
Sunday morning we are recognizing our graduating high school seniors. These twelve young men and women are moving into the next phase of their lives. It is a time of great excitement mixed with, of course, some anxiety regarding the unknown. After all, it’s a big and sometimes scary world out there! It is likely that most of them will be leaving home for the first time and they will soon, most assuredly, face situations and temptations that they have never faced before. All of this is part of growing up!
My hope and prayer for each of these is that, like Granny, they will not let the glitz, glamor and temptations of the world change who they are. I pray they will retain the joy in their hearts of being a child of God. Paul wrote, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:4-7, ESV).
Graduates, walk boldly into this next phase in life singing like Granny Moses! Never lose sight of who you are and, more importantly, Whose you are. No matter where you go, go in joy, knowing that the Lord is near. He has promised to never leave or forsake you. He has promised to never allow you to be tempted beyond what you can bear. And He has promised to always work things out for your own good as long as you love Him.
Morgan, Sarah, Perry, Caroline, Connor, Lia, Michael, Matthew, Alejandro, Sydney, John and Kevin…go with God. Go and let the world see the joy in your heart. Be prepared, in season and out of season, to tell anyone who asks you the reason for the hope that you have.
May God bless you, keep you and may His hand always be upon you!