Don’t ask me to dance! No, sir. Except for a brief period of life in the early 1980’s when aerobic dancing (for exercise) was all the rage, my people did not dance.
Fast forward and we are aboard a boat on the Sea of Galilee with a tour group. The Israeli crew clears the chairs away from the middle of the boat, puts on some traditional Jewish folk music and in their minimal English, motion for us to join them on the dance floor. No one budges. Finally one of the crew members smilingly takes one of the women by the hand and pulls her up. He motions for the rest of us to join them. One or two join the circle perhaps out of sympathy for their friend. “Oh, this is going to be good,” I think. He shows them how to move their feet to the music, holding hands, going round and round.
Soon enough, the whole group is laughing, smiling and dancing in a circle to the Jewish folk tunes. What a crazy, clumsy sight we are, but what fun we are having! The sheer joy and sense of camaraderie among the group is irrepressible!
In comparison to marching, dancing offers freedom of movement and individualistic expression, while marching is more disciplined. Marching involves everyone doing the same thing in time – left foot, right foot, left foot, right foot. We don’t typically think of marching as fun. Dancing, on the other hand, seems to set our spirits free. Just watch toddlers when you play upbeat music. They can’t help but dance! Their little bodies bob and sway to the music, their little hands clapping as joy oozes out of them.
More Duty Than Delight
Is your Christian experience more like dancing or marching? If your walk with God is more duty than delight, perhaps it is time to reassess your relationship.
David admonishes us to, “Delight yourself in The Lord…” (Psalm 37:4). Nehemiah 8:10 reminds us that “…the joy of the Lord is your strength.” So where did we get the idea that our relationship with God should be joyless, all work and no play? There will certainly be days when we put one foot in front of the other and life feels more like a march than a dance. But on the whole, God wants us to experience the joy of a full and abundant life (John 10:10).
There is nothing that pleases God more than for us to find our greatest delight in Him! When we radiate the joy of the Lord we honor Him by showing the world how good He is and how complete life is in Him. When we dance rather than march through life, people on the sidelines will join us on the dance floor, clumsy though we may be. And hand in hand, we will find that we are enjoying the sense of true joy and camaraderie that comes from sharing the dance of life together.