Reading time: two minutes. I’m writing today because I have to. Don’t misunderstand: there is not a compelling urge in my soul that what I write just has to be said. Beth in our office asked me this morning, “Is your blog ready?” I made a commitment, and she reminded me, so I have to write it. The Formula of Concord states that Christians do good works “from a free and willing spirit,” but I find that sometimes I do the things I do because I have to. There are deadlines to be met so I do what I’m expected to do. Am I inspiring you yet? What I’m wondering today is where that “free and willing” comes from. Give me another minute to unfold this. My good works are good, says the Formula of Concord, not because of my goodness, but because Christ has made me good, and my imperfect, poorly motivated works are good and acceptable, pleasing to the Father because of Jesus. There are many parts of what I do, both personally and professionally, that are pure joy, and nearly always driven by a merry spirit. There are others that I do because I believe that they are important; important to you or to others that I love and serve, even when I’m not so joyfully motivated. The Christian life that expresses the joy of faith revolves around the developed habits of those things that God has commanded. The foundational habit, our primary daily discipline, is to turn to the Word of God for life, hope and strength. I study God’s Word and I pray and worship each day from a free and willing spirit. I’ll admit that there were times when I “did” my daily devotion because I felt I “had to” or “should.” By the grace of God and the work of the transforming Spirit, time in the Word has become a daily joy, my first moments of the day, and the promises of His love and care drive everything else that follows. The “free and willing spirit” in me comes from the free and willing Holy Spirit who comes to me in the Word. The fuller quote from the Formula reads, “Those whom the Son of God has freed do true good works freely, or from a free and willing spirit.” It’s in the promises of the Word that I’m reminded and refreshed in the freedom of the gospel. Set free from death and flesh, I’m set free to serve. The Word becomes my fuel for service. My prayer for you is that since freely you have received, freely you will give. God bless your joyful service in the kingdom. Thanks for reading. Do you serve on a professional church worker conference planning committee? Our staff has vast experience leading groups of all sizes from every church work background through innovative wellness programs custom designed to meet your needs. Contact Program Director Darrell Zimmerman today to begin exploring the possibilities or visit our website to see some of our ideas for your conference!