Read Psalm 100
1 Make a joyful noise to the Lord,all the earth.
2 Worship the Lord with gladness;
come into his presence with singing.
3 Know that the Lord is God.
It is he that made us,and we are his;
we are his people,and the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him,bless his name.
5 For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations. (NRSV)
There are some followers of Jesus who figure that discipleship is basically about suffering,having to do difficult things and forgoing lots of earthly pleasures before finally getting to heaven where the good life begins.
Which is a sad parody of what it is really like. Of course there is hardship,of course this side of heaven we can’t have all our dreams and longings perfectly fulfilled. But imagining that God is urging us to some grim-faced,grit-your-teeth sort of life is swinging the pendulum way too far.
That wonderful writer Frederick Buechner once said that the place where God calls you to,is the place where the world’s deep hunger and your deep gladness meet. God might invite us to do hard things,but not misery-inducing things. The hard things he calls us to do can be occasions of gladness.
The psalmist speaks of gladness,not denying the sadness but not letting it be the only reality either. Whatever we do through Jesus we are empowered to do it. And it will be for the world’s benefit. And it will be evoking some gladness within us. We worship or serve the Lord with gladness because he is good and invites us to do good. We help satisfy the deep hunger around us and in doing so satisfy some deep and God-planted hunger within ourselves.