Psalm 100:1-2 ESV
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!
Serving the Lord with gladness is one of the perks we have as Christians. Most people relate work or serving, with duty which lends itself to serving out of obligation rather than delight. There is a spiritual place available to us where we can enter into a place of rest and service regardless of what the circumstances may be.
One of my first experiences with this supernatural service took place in the mountains of Oregon and Washington when I was doing reforestation work to support our Bible school in California. Parris and I lived in the mountains with our infant son Jeremy for seven months. We would camp with our team near a river, and live in our tent village. The living conditions and working conditions were quite difficult.
Tree planting takes place in the fall and winter months, and is especially cold and rainy in the mountains of the Northwest. Planting trees on the sides of those mountains for 10-12 hours per day was quite difficult and rather dangerous. Because of the conditions, without serving the Lord with gladness, you could be quite miserable. I experienced a number of those miserable days. One of the things we were taught by our Pastors was what they called “entering in”! You could embrace the work with joy if you saw it connected to the ministry. Planting trees in the mountain proved to be a great joy in my life. I was able to learn how to “enter in” and embrace the Lord in the midst of unpleasant circumstances. I was learning to serve the Lord with gladness.
Many times our work can be a source of frustration and can be something we do because we have no other choice and we have to pay the bills. I had one of those jobs. I worked for one year at B & C Egg Ranch in the San Joaquin Valley in the early seventies. I hated to go to work. My job consisted of pushing chicken manure. It was hot, it was stinky and I was miserable. One of those miserable days I had a great spiritual breakthrough. I felt like I could not do that job anymore and began to cry out to the Lord. Thousands of chickens went silent as I began to shout out to God. He met me in an amazing way. In a moment of time He changed everything. He reminded me of my tithes and my offerings that I had given at church the night before. Then the Lord reminded me of the missions team we were sending out. In a moment of time I saw it. My work was connected to my giving. My giving was connected to the advancing of God’s kingdom. My work was not in vain. A portion of my earnings was going into the work of God. Joy began to flood my soul. Instead of crying out in misery I began shouting for joy.
“Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth. Serve the Lord with gladness. Come into His presence with singing.”
My experience at the egg ranch changed drastically that day. I was no longer working with regret and hopelessness but now I was serving the Lord with gladness.
Serving the Lord with gladness is what I observed this year at Feed the Multitudes. In every venue I saw volunteers joyfully pouring out to the needy. From the food tent to the spa tent, from the foot washing to the groceries, from the elderly to the children, from the music tent to the prayer tent, everywhere I saw the joy of the Lord. Feed the Multitudes is just one day but serving the Lord with gladness can be part of our everyday.
The Lord has a place of service for you. It may be with children, youth, home groups, evangelism, healing room, prison or countless other options, but there is a place for you to serve with joy. When you tap into this new life you leave behind serving out of obligation and step into the pleasures of God. I think I can hear the brothers on the tree planting line crying out “enter in” enter in to this brand new kind of life.