„Serve the Lord with gladness“ (Psalm 100,2)
It is my wish that this beautiful word, which is filled with blessings, may accompany us throughout the year 2012. To this Chief Apostle Wilhelm Leber said the following in the New Years Service in Landquart (Switzerland):
I have selected a word for this year that shall accompany us throughout this period of time. Last year I encouraged all with a word out of Galatians 6.10 “Let us do good!” The motto for this year is in some measure a continuation: “Serve the Lord with gladness” (Psalm 100.2). The New Apostolic work of faith is a work of serving; all are called upon to serve the Lord, all should participate! The more this is possible the more beautiful it is in the congregation, in the district. I call upon us all so that each one participates in the work of the Lord and that each one brings their contribution. I know that much is done already in the work of God and I do not want to burden anyone more. When all work together then the burden is not felt as much, then it is a joy to serve the Lord.
This leads to the question: why do we serve the Lord? Do we do it out of coercion, from an external obligation or to stand out in front of those who look at us?
We want to serve the Lord – out of love; this is my appeal for this year. Plato said: "How can a man be happy, if he must serve others?" This is service out of coercion, if one is called to serve another. If however, one serves the Lord out of love for Him, when this love is the driving force, then it can go well; Love for the Lord enriches us and inspires so that we can truly encounter the Lord. Serve the Lord with gladness – out of love!
What can we do in concrete terms? I am thinking of the parable, in which the Lord gives his servants pounds and asks: "Do business till I come!" (cf. Luke 19,13). That is translated in our time: be active, accept this gift and work with it – to each one are given such talents! If one thinks of the word “Pound” one thinks of particular gifts, for example a beautiful voice - a great gift. If someone can play the violin like Paganini or can talk like Zarathustra then these are wonderful skills. The parable however, is not to be understood this way but rather that we have all have received certain skills and they must not necessarily be earth-shattering.
That we can bring joy to each other, that we take part in that which is happening in the congregation – such are the simple things that the Lord call upon us to do. Let us serve him in this sense, use our gifts, in the simple possibilities that exist and make use of them. How beautiful it is if you take part in the congregation, can turn to someone and with interest ask them “How are you? I notice that there is something troubling you, can I help you?” This is something that must live in the congregation, where we rejoice in each other and share. Having compassion is so important, so enriching, and this is what I call us all upon to do.
If we encourage and support one another, take off some of the burdens then this is what is meant by serving the Lord. In summary we can say: This is true serving when we do that which encourages fellowship. In the vast majority of situations we can, even with small things, do so much to encourage and support fellowship – for example, with an appreciatory remark.
Everything that we do to encourage this fellowship is serving in the work of the Lord and therein lies blessing. It doesn’t have to be something big, nothing that necessarily appears large in the eyes of others, but rather things where we can lend a helping hand, perhaps help carrying the cross of someone – this is serving the Lord, this is blessed, this is wealth.
Serve the Lord with gladness, out of love – this has its effects. We want to reveal the Gospel in our lifestyle, our whole attitude and make the value of fellowship visible outwardly. We want to show our enthusiasm. If the possibility arises we also want to invite: Come along! When enthusiasm radiates outwardly than that is the most beautiful thing. We want to radiate this enthusiasm: We are happy in the fellowship of Gods children. Why should we not proclaim our enthusiasm about our childhood in God? This is a vital principal of any congregation.
In loving connection, yours