Worship the Lord with gladness. Come before him, singing with joy. ~ Psalm 100:2 (NLT)
My first two years in college, my part time job was in janitorial services. I was in charge of cleaning certain departments. This involved the typical stuff: vacuuming, taking out the trash, dusting, and cleaning the nastiness out of the bathrooms. One of the things given to me by my boss to help keep me on track was a list of duties which I needed to accomplish each day of work. For example, every day I would vacuum, take out the trash, and clean the sinks and toilets. But, only on Mondays was I to dust the department from top to bottom. On Tuesdays, instead of dusting, I was supposed to mop the areas which had tile floors. Basically, I was given a routine to follow to ensure I was doing my job properly. So, I mindlessly just followed the list. I wasn’t inspired by it. I certainly wasn’t passionate about it. I just did what was required and then clocked out.
Many of us approach our faith with this same attitude. We have a list of what we are supposed to do – we’ve most likely grown up with it – Say a prayer, sing a couple of boring songs, try not to fall asleep in church, smile when someone says hello, and so on. We do it because that’s what’s expected. But, just like my janitorial routine, it’s done without any real joy or gladness. And, here’s the problem, that attitude has become contagious.
When our worship times together become just a series of steps to take in order to say we “did it well,” then we’re doing it all wrong. Our worship times together should be vibrant, full of energy, joy, and gladness. In fact, our verse today says, “Worship the Lord with gladness. Come before him, singing with joy.” In other words, get into it. Sing loud and proud. Get into the songs. Pray along in your head, giving thanks for all He has done. Be the person who greets others warmly. Make visitors feel welcome. Let your facial expression actually be an expression, rather than a dull look of boredom. People don’t want to belong to a place which depresses them. They want to belong to a movement of people who are excited about Jesus.
So, I give you permission. The next time you gather together for worship, be joyful. Be energetic. Be happy. Be glad. Sing praises with passion, even if you’re tone deaf. Be a joy-filled Christian who is truly giving their all when it comes to worshiping the King of Kings.