When Benjamin Franklin was visiting England, he received a letter that two of his friends had died. As Franklin pondered the news, he thought about their differences. One was always fretting even in the midst of prosperity, whereas the other was always laughing even in the midst of poverty. “It seems,” Franklin observed, “that happiness in this life rather depends on internals than externals; and that, besides the natural effects of wisdom and virtue, vice and folly, there is such a thing as being of a happy or an unhappy constitution.”[1]


            Franklin was right. Some do have a happier constitution than others, and having a glad spirit depends more on internals than externals. It’s not based on our fortunes but on our faith.


            I’ve been thinking about that word, glad. In my favorite translation of the Bible, the word glad occurs nearly 150 times. I feel we have an obligation to serve the Lord gladly and to do so today.


            Psalm 100 tells us, “Serve the Lord with gladness; come before His presence with singing” (verse 2). The apostle Paul said, “I will very gladly spend and be spent for your souls” (2 Corinthians 12:15).


Serve Gladly Because It Reflects God’s Nature

            We can make a difference today when we serve the Lord with joy. After all, it reflects His very nature. In 1 Chronicles 16:27-31, God’s presence is characterized by strength and gladness, therefore, the heavens should rejoice and be glad.


In Hebrews 1:9, Jesus was anointed with the oil of gladness. When we’re serving Him with joy, we’re importing the very personality of Jesus into our daily walk and work.


Serve Gladly Because It Exhibits the New Birth

            A glad heart exhibits the new birth. Jesus “went through every city and village, preaching and bringing the glad tidings of the kingdom” (Luke 8:1). On the Day of Pentecost, the crowds listening to Peter “gladly received his word” and became known for their “gladness and simplicity of heart” (Acts 2:41, 46).


Serve Gladly Because Jesus Is Alive

We’re also joyful today because Jesus is alive. In John 20, the risen Christ appeared to His desolate disciples on Easter Sunday night. Verse 20 says: “Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.”


Every day is Easter for us. Jesus is alive and near us each moment of every hour. We walk with Him and talk with Him in unbroken fellowship. How can this not make us joyful?


Serve Gladly Because You Are Blessed

That’s not all. We’re joyful today because we’re blessed. After dedicating the temple in 2 Chronicles 7:10, the Israelites went “away to their tents, joyful and glad of heart for the good that the Lord had done for [them].” We’re gifted “with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3).


Serve Gladly Because the Harvest Is Coming

We can also serve joyfully today because of the coming harvest. Isaiah 55 promises that His word will not return void but “shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” Therefore, we can “go out with joy and be led out with peace” (verses 11-12).


If you’re discouraged because you’ve been toiling away in the Lord’s work with few signs of progress, think of the coming harvest and rejoice. Your labor isn’t wasted. Your efforts aren’t in vain. As we serve Him gladly today, it’s in anticipation of the harvest tomorrow.


Serve Gladly Because Others Need It

            Finally, we should serve the Lord gladly today because others need it. One study found that happiness passes from one person to another like the flu. One researcher said, “We found that each happy friend a person has increases that person’s probability of being happy by about nine percent. Each unhappy friend decreases it by seven percent.”[2]


To find strength for every day, cultivate a joyful heart. To rekindle a passion for your faith, cultivate a glad spirit. To recover the purpose of Christian service, make up your mind to serve the Lord today with joy.


Today is the day to say, “I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go into the house of the Lord’” (Psalm 122:1).


David Jeremiah is the senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church and the founder and host of Turning Point for God. For more information about Dr. Jeremiah or Turning Point, visit www.DavidJeremiah.org.

[1] H. W. Brands, The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin (NY: Random House, 2000), 300.

[2] Nicholas A. Christakis and James H. Fowler, Connected (NY: Little, Brown, and Company, 2009).