Psalm 100: [1] Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth!
[2] Serve the LORD with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!

[3] Know that the LORD, he is God!
It is he who 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.

“Serve the LORD with gladness”. What a marvelous commandment. And we should have no doubt that it is a commandment. We are commanded to serve God with gladness. It is a sin to serve the Lord without being glad about it. This cannot mean that we are never to be sad. Even our Lord got sad sometimes. So it must mean that we are to be glad that we can serve Him. We are glad that we are serving Him in whatever capacity we happen to be doing it at the time. We are glad that He allows us to serve Him. So it means that we will not grumble about things we are called to do for the Lord. We will not grumble about going to church, giving money, helping the poor, giving the Gospel. We will not try to hide from people because of what they are going to ask us. We will serve God with gladness.

As with most things in the Christian life, this is a matter of knowing God better. The God who can cause rocks to rise up and praise God is the God who does not need us to serve Him at all. He can do better what He commands us to do. The very fact that we are commanded to do something for the sovereign Lord of the universe should make us glad. It is when we take our eyes off Him that serving Him becomes more duty than delight, more obligation than privilege, more “should” than “may”.

But this commandment also means that God wants us happy. And happiness is found in service to Him, no matter what capacity we do the serving. God wants us happy and He knows how best to get us there. We get ourselves in trouble when we start telling Him what will make us happy. We reason that if God wants us happy then why does He allow/put such things into our lives? “If He wants me happy then why doesn’t He make me healthy , make me wealthy, make me trouble free?” This is, of course to say that we know more than God – and such an attitude will never end in happiness. Only God is God and as hard as it is for us to see it at times, He does know what He is doing. We do not sit in judgement on Him. We do not assume that we could do better.

Serve the Lord with gladness. It begins with knowing Him and growing in our knowledge of Him. It means being stunned at the thought that God wants me happy and remembering that He knows what He is doing. Put yourself under His great, sovereign, loving, leadership. It’s the best thing you could ever do for yourself. It produces happiness.