Psalm 122:1 I was glad when they said to me,
“Let us go to the house of the LORD!”
I love church. I love being in church on a Sunday. I probably have the best job in the world because I get paid to lead a church and focus my life on it. I enjoy my ministry. I enjoy our church. But I have discovered that even with things that we enjoy, there can be pressure, tension and difficulties. But like the Psalmist, I am still glad to be a part of the Church!
There was once a preacher who was invited to a small country church. He accepted the invitation and took his young son along with him. They arrived early at the church, which was open, but found no-one. While they waited for someone to arrive, they noticed a wooden box on the back wall with a slot in it. The preacher took out $20 and deposited into the offering box as his son looked on. Soon enough a few of the regulars turned up and the church service was under way. The visiting preacher poured his heart out and at the end of the service the deacon came up to him and vigorously shook his hand with genuine gratitude for the preacher's efforts. "You preached real well today pastor, real well. In fact, we have a visiting preacher offering box on the back wall into which the congregation can show their appreciation. And they really liked you today!" With that encouragement, the deacon gave the pastor an envelope. The pastor thanked the deacon and bid his farewells. In the car on the way back home he opened the envelope with his son looking on. Inside the envelope was $20. The pastor's $20! "Well Dad", said the son, "don't be disappointed! If you'd put more in, you would have got more out!"
When we do things with gladness we are 'putting in' and are then more likely to 'get more out'. Thus, an attitude of gladness affects our level of appreciation because being glad about what we have produces within us a sense of treasuring. Afterall, if you had treasure wouldn't you be glad? Coming together as God's people in worship we are treasuring God's presence and we are made glad.
Psalm 21:6 For you make him most blessed forever;
you make him glad with the joy of your presence.
We can be glad about so many things that we are often frustrated with: family, work, health, weight, finances, relationships, leisure time, time-management and so on. And sometimes when we are frustrated generally we become frustrated specifically, especially with 'soft' targets. This is why we often take out our general frustration on those closest to us, or those most likely not to challenge us. Sometimes this means that church becomes a soft target for generally frustrated people. So when life gets frustrating, it's hard to agree with the Psalmist when he says that he was "glad" when he went to the house of God (Psalm 122:1). It's at these times that we must choose to be glad. Being glad comes from a decision of our will-
Psalm 31:7 I will rejoice and be glad in your steadfast love,
because you have seen my affliction;
you have known the distress of my soul,
In the great Forgiveness Psalm (32), the Psalmist has just experienced God's forgiveness and he declares to the people of God to-
Psalm 32:11 Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, O righteous,
and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!
So this Sunday, let's come together to seek the Lord. In so doing, we are proscribed by the Psalms to worship- to declare that God is great - and to seek God and to be glad in God-
Psalm 40:16 ¶ But may all who seek you
rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who love your salvation
say continually, “Great is the LORD!”
Let us be glad and be glad together and be glad to be together !