I have spent these past several months traveling around West Virginia and Ohio attending association annual meetings and sharing at churches. It has been a joy to connect with so many friends and supporters—both new and old.
As I reflect on these past months of travels, one Sunday morning church service stands out as particularly memorable.
I remember this service because of a little boy—maybe 3 years in age. When the worship service began, he began to joyfully cheer “Yay!” Everyone began to laugh and smile—the enthusiasm was contagious. As worship continued, each transition was met by another shout of joy from the little boy. We would stand to sing a song. He would shout “Yay!” and clap his hands. The pastor would say to bow our heads in prayer. The little boy would let out another exclamation of joy.
What a beautiful witness of the power of child-like faith. If only everyone went to church with the enthusiasm of this toddler!
We should take joy in worshipping and serving the Lord. Psalm 100:1-2 says, “Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness!” (ESV).
When I was discerning where God was calling me to serve with International Ministries, there was a prayer that I prayed constantly. It is based on a quote by author and pastor Frederick Buechner. This quote still sits on a whiteboard on my desk. I share it at churches I visit.
Buechner says, “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”
We should be serving God in a place and spirit of “deep gladness.” Like a 3-year-old cheering for each new song we sing and each pray we say. That is the enthusiasm we should bring!
So, I prayed for God to show me that place—of my deep gladness meeting the world’s deep hunger. God’s answer was to lead me to this opportunity to serve in Japan.