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July 21, 1997

Is Your Work Praise?

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From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the LORD is to be praised. PSALM 113:3
Is your work praise? The question is not, “Are you praising God at work?” The real question is about the nature of your work. Is it praise? This question is essential— and it’s not intended just for pastors, missionaries, and worship leaders. Accountants, farmers, and bus drivers need to consider this question carefully as well. Too many times, people who are not in “full-time ministry” are relegated to a second-class calling, and we lower our expectations of the spiritual output of their work. Why? Because of our misunderstanding of both work and worship.
In today’s thinking, there is spiritual work, and there is necessary, earthly, secular work. The clergy perform spiritual work all the time; the laity does their spiritual work on Sunday mornings and when they pray, read the Scriptures, or perform acts of service. Secular work is the work the laity does for income. But in this psalm, David exhorts us to praise the Lord all day long, from the rising to the setting of the sun, both now and forevermore. Anybody with a job will tell you that this is impossible if you plan to get any work done. Or is it?
What does it mean to praise the Lord? This is where our misunderstanding of worship comes into play. To many people today, worship means singing in church on Sunday mornings. Adventurous types may try to worship during their quiet times; perhaps you were even planning to engage in that kind of worship after you finished reading this. But worship stems from the focus of our singing—why we sing, and Whom our minds are fixed upon while we sing. It doesn’t involve what we sing, but to Whom we sing.
This can take place at work. You can worship while you’re making a presentation. Closing a deal. Hiring and firing. Building a house. Fixing a faucet. This is how we praise the Lord all day long.

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