We Can All Dance When.We Find Music We Love Sign Shall We Serve With Mirth Or With Fear?

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Shall We Serve With Mirth Or With Fear?

In 1593, William Ketha, an English Puritan songwriter, undertook to compose Psalm 100. He wrote the words of a classic psalm that has been loved and sung for over 400 years: “All the people that dwell on earth, sing to the Lord with a joyful voice. He worked with joy, his glory Say come before him to be happy.”

Chances are if you pick up your church hymn book today and look up “all the people that dwell on the face of the earth” you will find the words: “He serves in fear…” I looked it up in my church hymn book and sure enough. said; “He serves in fear.” What happened? I suspect some Kill Joy hymn editor changed it from the original version. Perhaps he felt that joy was too light and informal for a dignified worship service. Something more dignified and solemn was needed.

Therefore, since 1904, most of our hymn books tell us to worship God in fear. It is certainly true that Christians should be God-fearing in our daily walk, but that is different from serving God in fear. The Hebrew scriptures tell us that “the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom”. I take it to mean reverence for the Almighty and a healthy respect for the human race, created in his image, which is the cornerstone of the Judeo-Christian tradition. Being God-fearing is a wonderful virtue, but in my experience serving in fear is not helpful.

Athletics competition is such a wonderful teacher. We often hear coaches instructing their players to just go out there and have fun. Don’t let that last foul or missed shot get you down. It’s a game so just enjoy. If you’re not having fun, it won’t be long before you can no longer force yourself to compete successfully.

Those of us who are called to serve cannot take our vocation too seriously; But we can take ourselves too seriously when we try to fulfill this calling. Sometimes we are driven by a sense of duty and burdened by feelings of obligation. When this happens, we will soon reach a point of exhaustion when we can no longer force ourselves to serve. So relax, enjoy, you can’t save everyone, but you can make a difference in someone’s life if you keep smiling..

Jesus often said to his disciples, “Let not your hearts be troubled” and “Be of good cheer.” We have every right to be cheerful. I heard about a girl in Sunday school who was asked to repeat John 3:16 from memory. She said it perfectly until she got to the last line: “… he who believes in him will not die but will live to laugh.” This is the kind of life I would like to have, as I seek to serve others in His name.

So in conclusion: William Ketha was right. Our blessed Father in heaven wants us to serve him and others, with joy and gladness and love and pleasure. This is what is needed in the church today. We can close the gap between heaven and earth with a heart full of joy.

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