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Joy in Serving the King

“There’s joy in serving the King. Haven’t you heard that?”

Kristin’s eyes met mine in the high school bathroom mirror.

I was a new believer. I hadn’t heard that before. Her mother, however, taught my high school girl’s Bible study. Kristin would know.

Joy, joy in serving the King, God, spiritual growth, faith, Bible, Bible study, Jesus, forgiveness, missionary work, missions, self-sacrificeShe spoke those words 44 years ago, and they have stayed with me and echoed throughout my life.

Oft times, I’ve wondered. “Where’s the joy?”

If I don’t feel any aspects of joy (happiness, contentment, delight, peace), I ask myself why not?

If I can’t answer that question, I reconsider whether what I’m doing is the right thing for me to do.

(Which is not to say it isn’t the right service for someone else).

Here are my thoughts about joy in serving.

Many Christians argue there is a difference between joy and happiness.

Pastor/writer Randy Alcorn does a fine job explaining that’s not quite true here.

In regards to serving, I take it to mean as a result of serving God in a way He led you to, you will feel contented.

(Contentment turns up in definitions of both joy and happiness in the Merriam-Webster dictionary.)

That does not mean an easy task, a positive outcome, or no suffering on my part.

It simply means, I’ve accomplished something God sent me to do and I can rest contented in what happened.

I usually feel joyful or even energized by the experience.

Two examples

I spent four days in Nicaragua working at an eyeglass clinic in 2011.

Hot, humid weather affects me negatively.

I dreaded the trip–fear of illness and concern about insects upped the ante.

Yet, I knew God wanted my husband and me to take the trip. So we went.

We realized my worst fears on the first day. Not only did we experience miserable weather and challenging insects (though, they told me, far less than usual, thanks be to God), but I couldn’t fit the glasses well.

Eventually, we discovered I could translate–sort-of–and interview folks.

“Izquierda or derecha?” Right or left?

I managed the eye chart just fine.

Joy, however, consumed me once I found my niche.

I laughed, the patients laughed, I felt invigorated despite the conditions and I accomplished value work.

I’m delighted I went and probably would return.

When we returned, I wrote seventeen blog posts about the experience–my true source of joy.

I helped my husband one summer.

Vacation Bible School and Sunday School

While I’m the mother of four and a veteran cub scout leader, I don’t teach Vacation Bible School or children’s Sunday School

Sure, I like kids. I know the importance of both VBS and Sunday school.

But I don’t do well with that age group.

I don’t feel confident–even when I know the stories well.

Adults? No problem, I love teaching adults.

So, do I belong in the teacher role?

I don’t think so.

However, I can support teachers. For the last ten years I’ve watched teacher children before VBS or led recreation.

The trick was finding the right role for me.

From the right role flowed joy and contentment, as well as energy.

What brings you joy?

We have opportunities to help in all walks of life.

It doesn’t hurt to try experiences we may not feel equipped to do. (And sometimes we aren’t).

Joy, joy in serving the King, God, spiritual growth, faith, Bible, Bible study, Jesus, forgiveness, missionary work, missions, self-sacrifice

Photo by Jean Gerber on Unsplash

But pay close attention to what your heart says.

It can be hard and necessary-but if upon completion you are depleted rather than triumphant, reconsider the same task next time.

What doesn’t work for you may very well work for someone else–and bring them joy.

Ministry should not exhaust or dull your soul.

Pay attention to Kristin’s comment from all those years before: “There’s joy in serving God.”

Tweetables

What does it mean, “there’s joy in serving the King?” Click to Tweet

Happiness, contentment and triumph, even in hard things = joy. Click to Tweet

Ministry should not exhaust nor dull your soul. Click to Tweet

 

Every month in 2017, I’ll be telling the stories about God’s leading and my blessed–and astonished–reactions while writing Mrs. Oswald ChambersPhoto by Jean Gerber on Unsplash

The next newsletter comes out September 13: Emotional upheaval, an Aussie walkabout, and a Hong Kong surprise

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