Make a joyful shout to the LORD, all you lands! Serve the LORD with gladness; Come before His presence with singing.
Recently I found myself exhorted to serve more in the body of Christ with the motive of thanksgiving and gladness, not out of a sense of guilt or pastoral pressure. My mind scanned through old Bible memory verses and I suddenly stumbled upon this verse in Psalms 100, a verse that my grandparents taught us to sing on a mission trip to Honduras and that hasn’t left my memory since.
I love the idea of serving the Lord not out of compulsion or force. God isn’t the commander that has enforced the draft! He’s not the angry employer that is demanding we do the dirty job that is normally relegated to the new hires. He isn’t giving us a stern command but rather a loving invitation to come and join Him in the work He is doing on the earth in the hearts of men and women.
When we pray, “Your kingdom come” we know we aren’t talking about a kingdom that is contained within political or geographical borders, but the kingdom of God is His rule and reign in the hearts of His people. When we desire to see that kingdom forcefully advance, there must be those who are willing to lay down their lives for the sake of the gospel.
Joy, not Guilt
Service is not just a command, it is a joy. It gives us spiritual zeal (Romans 12:11) and is a test of our stewardship (Matthew 25:23). And the psalmist implores you and I to check our motives at the door of the church. Are we serving the Lord with gladness? Are we motivated by guilt, or by competition, or by envy, or by a genuine desire to see His kingdom come?
Over 15 years ago I heard an announcement from the pulpit of a church I was visiting calling for a week of prayer for the direction of their youth ministry. I remember coming to pray, and feeling a deep sense of God’s call and an obvious need. I didn’t have training, I certainly wasn’t experienced, and I was pretty intimidated. But as I poured out my life serving the Lord and ministering to HIM, I found a joy and a place in ministering to His young flock.
Has the wind left your sails? Are you like David, discouraged and overwhelmed in the battle? Maybe it’s time to encourage yourself in the Lord, to remind yourself to make a joyful shout the Lord, and to serve Him with gladness. Maybe you aren’t yet finding a place to fit in. Maybe you are that puzzle piece that hasn’t found its place yet. Seek the Lord, find a need, and then serve the Lord with His strength and His resources, giving Him the glory, and amazingly, He’ll reward you for it!