As some of you know, one of the things I enjoy most about summer is riding my bicycle around town. I did that every day that I had time to do it this summer. It’s good exercise, but there’s more to it than that. It’s the one exercise that I actually enjoy doing. There’s a feeling of freedom in riding a bicycle. It makes me feel energized. It makes me feel like I’m a kid again, riding my bike without a care in the world. It’s been a really fun thing.
But, of course, summer is coming to an end. There will still be some days when I can ride my bicycle, but it won’t be long until it’ll be too cold to do so. Pretty soon, it’ll be time to put the bicycle away for the winter. I’ll have to do my exercising indoors.
I don’t like to exercise indoors. I know I still need the exercise, I know it’s a good thing for me to do, but I don’t want to do it. It’s not fun. It’s boring. I have to force myself to do it. In fact, the only way I can make myself exercise indoors at all is to record baseball games over the summer and watch them while I’m exercising in the winter. I still don’t like the exercising part, but I can make myself do it because I give myself the treat of watching baseball while I do it. So, while the actual exercise may sometimes seem like drudgery, I can still find some joy in the process. I can make the experience positive for myself.
It strikes me that what God asks us to do is kind of like that sometimes. Some of the things God asks us to do are things we enjoy doing. Yes, they’re good things for us to do, but there’s more to it than that. We like doing them. They make us feel good. They make us feel energized. They’re really fun things for us.
But sometimes, God asks us to do some things we don’t like so much. We know we need to do them, we know they’re good things for us to do, but they’re not fun. We don’t enjoy them. We have to force ourselves to do them.
And yet, if we try hard enough, if we can be creative enough, we can find a way to make ourselves do those things and not have them be unpleasant. We can find a way to get something positive out of them. We still may not want to do the thing itself, but sometimes we can find some joy in the process. We can make the experience positive for ourselves.
Sometimes that joy, that positive aspect to the experience can come simply from the appreciation of the person or persons we’ve done something for. Sometimes it comes from having learned something or accomplished something we did not think we could accomplish. Sometimes, that positive aspect simply comes from knowing we’ve done what God wanted us to do.
If God is asking you do something you enjoy, that’s great. But if God is asking you to do something you don’t particularly enjoy, be creative about it. Try to find a way to enjoy it. Try to find a way to get something positive out of it. God does not ask us to do things to make us miserable. God asks us to do things because they need to be done and we are the people who can do them. And God wants us to feel joy in doing them, even if they’re things we wouldn’t have chosen to do on our own. So let’s do them, and let’s find a way to enjoy them.
Remember, God does not want our grudging service. God wants our loving service. When we serve God out of love, we can always find things to enjoy.