God Don’t Do Nike, and Neither Can We

The longer I’ve been a Christian, the better I’ve become at acting. Not acting in the movie sense of the word, but in the doing sense of the word. I know how a Christian is supposed to act in different situations. I know what I’m supposed to do, say, think, and display through my body language. I can put on the right faces, say the right things, reference the appropriate scriptures, you get it. I guess that is sort of like movie acting, now that I think about it.

Because of this, there are many times when my service to the Lord becomes more like a Nike commercial than a holy moment: I just do it. You need me to lead worship on Sunday? Yeah sure. I don’t really feel like it, but I’ll just do it. I’ll put a brave face on it, and all that. You need me to take my Saturday to help you move? I mean, it is my Saturday and all, and I have been really looking forward to relaxing, but I can do it. I’ll just do it. Jen needs me to watch the girls for a few hours? Yep, can do. Just do it. I’d rather watch television, but I can grin and bear it. I can make my body do the right thing, even if I’m complaining on the inside. 

The problem is, just doing it isn’t enough in God’s eyes. God requires happy service. In Psalm 100:2 it says:

Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!

If only the word “gladness” hadn’t nosed its way into that scripture, then I’d be good! I could serve the Lord, no matter how I felt about it. But God makes it clear that I must be happy in my service of him.

Why does God care so much about happy serving? Because the way we serve is a direct reflection on who we serve. If God was a cruel taskmaster who didn’t care for me and enjoyed punishing me, then it might be okay to serve without gladness. If God was a joyless God who never blessed me, then serving without gladness would be fine. My joyless serving would be a reflection of my joyless God.

But the fact is, serving God is the greatest privilege of my life. I was once a hell bound sinner, enslaved by sin and ruled by Satan. But God rescued me, forgave me, adopted me, and continues to pour blessing after blessing into my life. No one has done more good to me than God. When I don’t serve the Lord with gladness, I’m saying he’s not a very good master. I’m saying that he hasn’t been kind to me. I’m saying that it is drudgery to follow the Lord, when in reality his yoke is easy and his burden is light.

So whether I’m serving in church, serving my family, or serving at work, I need to do it with gladness. The way I serve makes a big statement about the one I serve. Today, let’s seek to serve the Lord with gladness. If you find yourself lacking gladness, ask God for help. Ask him to fill you with his joy. Ask him to refresh your glad spirit. God takes our gladness very seriously, and he wants you to be glad in your service of him.

Comments

  1. Elaine says

    What an excellent post, Stephen; I appreciate how you bring the truth to bear on our everyday lives; for instance, taking a Scripture that I have read hundred of times (okay, at least tens of times) and press it into how I serve my family, whether it's cooking supper – again….or cleaning the bathroom….again.

    Thanks for the check-up, Stephen!

  2. Megan says

    This is great! I like these passages: "There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw is from the hand of God, for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment." Ecclesiastes 2:24-25 and "For he will not much remember the days of his life because God keeps him occupied with joy in his heart." Ecclesiastes 5:20

    I am on my way to Afghanistan right now and I believe God gave me these verses for my trip to remind me that He is the source of joy, not circumstances or a job. How can we be anything other than joyful when we serve such a glorious God!

    By the way, I have been meaning to let you and your dad know that I so love your cd In a Little While. It feeds my soul regularly and took the place of a church service on my first deployed Sunday! Thanks for using your gifts to point others to Christ!

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