I’ve always loved the Psalms because of their personal, intimate nature. Indeed, so many of them could be read as individual testimonies that communicate to our own lives today. This week, Psalm 100 especially resonates with me:
Make a joyful shout to the LORD, all you lands! Serve the Lord with gladness. Come before His presence with singing. Know that the LORD, He is God. It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves. We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him and bless His name. For the Lord is good. His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations.
I can almost hear the Psalmist’s voice as he exclaims God’s goodness and as he invites us to join him in worship. My heart is certainly stirred to express gratitude toward the Lord! And I am even told how I can declare that thanksgiving for myself!
First, the Psalmist says sing/shout! I have the ability to proclaim verbally the greatness of God as I sing to Him. As many of you have noted recently, my voice has been a bit weaker than usual. It has even been raspy. Why? Because I screamed too much at football games and cross country meets! (By the way, I did maintain my testimony even though I liberated my inner emotion!) My shouts and cheers flowed from my excitement and joy over competition. But how much more should I sing and shout for the victorious work of Christ!
Second, the biblical witness encourages us to serve. Did you know that it is hard to distinguish the difference between worship and service in the original languages of Scripture? The same word can be translated either way. I believe that is because true worship is true service. You cannot separate the two activities. If you are truly worshipping, you are truly serving. If you are serving, you are truly worshipping. So, we should commit ourselves to serve Him . . . and to do it with gladness.
Third, the writer reminds us to stop. Stop and know that He is God. Reflect on Him. Think of His goodness. Consider His mercy and blessing. At times, we simply need to surrender our busyness as we pause to recognize Him. And wouldn’t that be appropriate this week? Your holiday may look different this year, but there still may be activities that crowd your attention. STOP! Stop and realize that everything you have is because He is good and gracious! He has made us and not we ourselves. He has blessed us, and thus deserves our devotion.
Finally, the Psalmist encourages us to share. It is important to give thanks together. Whether you join in the courts of praise as you worship on campus or if medical reasons dictate that you join us through media resources, your collective participation is essential for us to express our gratitude appropriately. We must share in our praise.
Temple family, I am so blessed to give thanks this week . . . and to do it with you is even sweeter. I pray you are able to join us this upcoming Sunday for worship. Moreover, I hope you can be a part of sending the Jernigans off for a new adventure. We love and appreciate all that they have meant to us, and we want to show them that through our drive-thru on Sunday afternoon. Have a blessed week, and I’ll see you Sunday!