Working And Worshipping In Gladness!
Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations. – Psalm 100
Why should we not sing for joy? We have been gifted with life and God never abandons us, even if we turn away from him. Though we were sinful and defied his will, he sent his only begotten Son into the world to set us free from the chains of our sinfulness. He has set us free and promised us that he would shepherd us always on the path toward goodness.
What on earth could be more joyful than to serve the Lord? To serve the One who created all things seen and unseen, whose love is boundless? How could serving the source of all goodness, all truth, and all beauty be anything less than joyful. In the terms even of modern psychology, wouldn’t this be the very definition of sanity? to serve anything less, particularly anything as fickle as money, or power, or fame, is the perfect recipe for frustration, jealousy, anger, and despair. To serve some passing fashion in ideology is the definition of foolishness. That’s, ironically, a historical fact.
Faith is the key here, isn’t it. What do you put your faith in? How can you tell where you faith is placed? Look at what you give the majority of your time to, what you spend the majority of your money on, what do you put your greatest efforts toward, emotionally, intellectually, and physically? This might reveal your “god”, or gods. It is clear that the majority of humanity gives obeisance to one or more of these lesser gods. Is there any wonder why saints are so few? Or why the wisdoms of our Christian faith are not taken seriously by so many today? Is it any wonder that the accommodations made by many in the Christian Church, to be more acceptable to modern society, has diminished our ability to challenge society’s moral failings?
The joy of serving the Lord is what the world needs to see in us. The joy of serving justice, the joy of caring for those who are marginalized, the poor, the widow, the orphan, the alien in ways that empower and liberate them, that invites them to join us in the joy of serving others in the name of the Lord.
If we serve the Lord with gladness in this life, we are promised the eternal joy of Heaven. But even more relevant for us, it is serving God that we find both real meaning and true purpose in this life. Even though our service to the Lord in this life may cause us to share in the suffering and sacrifice of Jesus, we will know the inner happiness that we are in service of the One Who Is, the One in whom all good things find their being. In serving our brothers and sisters in this world, without prejudice, without conditions, God’s grace can enter the world through us as well.
To serve God is to serve the very source of joy.
Only God can give us the things we truly need.
To serve anything less can only result in failure.
Dan Doyle is a retired professor of English and Humanities. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology. To read more of Dan’s work, click here.