Psalm 100:1-3 - Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth! Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into His presence with singing! Know that the LORD, He is God! It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture.
Some time ago, I heard of a husband who lorded it over his wife.
Things got so bad he even gave her a list of things she should and shouldn't do. He gave her laws which were to be followed to the letter. Not infrequently, he added to the list. He had laws as trivial as how his eggs should be cooked and what kind of cloth his wife should use when she dusted the furniture.
Eventually, the husband died. No, the wife didn't kill him; he passed away of natural causes.
She, after a respectable period of mourning -- I think it was about two weeks -- fell in love and got married again. Having learned her lesson in the first marriage, this time she got hitched to a fellow who loved her and made her life a joy.
One day she was going through her kitchen's junk drawer and, way in the back, stumbled upon her first husband's list of laws. So many bad memories came washing over her she had to sit down. After a few minutes of composing herself, she decided to look through the list one more time before she burned it.
As she looked over the rules her first husband had imposed, it occurred to her that she was, for her new husband, doing every one of the things that were written on the piece of paper she held in her hands. In fact, she was doing more for this person who loved her so dearly.
"What is the difference?" she asked herself.
Then she realized: because her husband loved her so much, all these activities which had once been forced upon her had been transformed. Because her husband loved her, old duties became present-day delights.
Every once in a while, I run into someone who really believes following the Savior is nothing more than living under the old laws. That's sad. Listen, the Lord Jesus said to love God with all your heart, soul, and mind (see Matthew 22:37).
If trying to do that is a burden, a pain, a struggle, a cross to carry, I encourage you to go to the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus took all your sins upon Himself. Watch as He started to sweat, as it were, great drops of blood.
Watch and realize Jesus could have escaped Judas' kiss and the guards who had come to arrest Him. But He didn't escape -- not from the guards, not from His false trials, not from Pilate or Herod or the crowd that called for his death.
Watch and realize that Jesus was crucified and died so you might be forgiven, so you might become a child of God and live for eternity with your Lord. Watch and realize the risen Redeemer is living proof that a loving Lord has done all that is necessary, so you might -- on Judgment Day -- be declared innocent of wrongdoing. Look at these things, and you will realize it's not so hard trying to serve Someone who loves you so very much.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, be with us so that our lives may be filled with joy in Jesus. Allow us to throw off sin and live a life of witness as we try to follow the Savior. In His Name, I pray. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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