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Woburn

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35 Olympia Avenue
Woburn, MA 01801

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Sunday 9:00 AM

Sunday 10:30 AM

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781-281-1585

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North Shore

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SpringHill Suites Hotel 43 Newbury St
Peabody, MA 01960

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Sunday 10:00 AM

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SERVE THE LORD WITH GLADNESS

by Jason Corbin on August 04, 2022

What are some thoughts or emotions that come to mind when you think about serving or volunteering? Is serving something you do out of obligation or from a sense of duty and honor as a soldier would serve his country? Is it helping your daughter offload a hundred boxes of girl scout cookies so you don’t eat them all? Is it a way for you to repay a debt? Last winter, my wife and I shoveled our neighbors’ driveway after a storm, and even though we told them we didn’t want anything in return, they felt compelled to repay the kindness with a large fruit basket left on our doorstep. (For the record, I’m not a big fruit person). 
 
Maybe when you reflect on your perspective of serving you realize that you spend a lot of time only serving yourself. And that’s not surprising! The culture we live in bombards us with messages like “You deserve this” and “You need that” in order to be happy. I like to think of myself as someone who genuinely enjoys serving others, but if I’m brutally honest, I also struggle with a ton of selfish thoughts when serving opportunities come my way.  
 
“I just need some me time.”
“I have too many things I have to do.” 
“Someone else will step in, I do enough as it is.”
 
My list of excuses can go on. 
 
I have to admit that last week was one of the roughest weeks I’ve had serving as a pastor, and I confess that there was definitely some grumbling involved. As I confessed my bad attitude to some of my friends in the GENESIS community and sought the Lord to change my heart, he reminded me of Psalm 100. Verse 2 says to “Serve the Lord with gladness!”

As I considered this verse for the last week and asked the Lord to change my heart, it struck me that I had been reading this verse incorrectly. I assumed that the Psalmist was responding with thankfulness to God because he saw all the LORD had done in his life and felt compelled to serve with gladness as a reaction to his receiving of God’s favor. But the truth is that serving is not primarily a vehicle for showing our gratitude to God. He doesn’t need our “thank you.” And He doesn’t need our service either. Jesus already has all that He needs, and rather than requiring our acts of kindness or words of affirmation, he is the source of these things for us! 
 
So what is the Psalmist getting at in this verse? To serve the Lord with gladness is a gracious command! We are commanded to serve because God deeply loves us and wants what’s best for us, not because God is looking for mindless minions to do His bidding. His command to serve is an act of love towards us because He knows we need it in order to understand the extent of the gospel’s influence on our lives and for us to fully grow into who He wants us to become.
 
As I reflected on this revelation, I wrote down three reasons why we are graciously commanded to serve in my journal.   

Growth – We need to serve because it helps us to grow in Christlikeness.

God knows where we need to grow. As I eluded to earlier, serving isn’t always easy. It often means working with personalities that are unlike our own, and doing things that stretch our abilities. Though not an exhaustive list, we learn humility, patience, meekness, self-awareness, leadership, discernment, and wisdom when we serve. God knows that we will grow to look more like Christ through serving His church. As I learned last week, I have a lot of room to grow in the area of humility.   

Witness – We need to serve because it helps others see who Jesus is.

Serving is a practical way of walking out the command to “love one another” that we receive from Jesus in the New Testament. Loving service to one another builds His church because it displays His grace, love, mercy, and kindness to those who do not know Him. Effective witness has to include both demonstration and proclamation. People can come to church to hear the gospel proclaimed but unless they see it demonstrated, it will not be complete. Serving is a critical part of the church’s witness because it demonstrates how we love one another.

Praise - We need to serve because it reminds us of who God is.

Serving cannot be separated from worship. Worshiping God for who He is and what He has done for us includes serving him. This is why the Psalmist puts the call to serve the Lord with gladness in the middle of a worship song. As we serve Him with a joyful heart, we give God glory and are reminded of how worthy He is. 
 
When I first became a Christian and for years after, I believed that serving was optional. I’d possibly sign up to serve if it was convenient for my schedule. I missed out on so many years of growth and participating in God’s mission because my understanding of serving was all wrong.

God graciously commands us to serve because He loves us deeply, He wants us to grow in our walk with Him, and He wants those who do not know Him to see our loving service to one another.
 
Don’t miss out on what God desires for you through serving like I did for so many years. Respond to the command to serve the Lord with gladness by signing up for a TEAM.

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