Our Worship Is Our Service (and vice versa)

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Psalm 100:2 (ESV)

“Serve the Lord with gladness!  Come into his presence with singing!”

The English Standard Version of Psalm 100:1-2 reads, “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!  Serve the Lord with gladness!  Come into his presence with singing!”  The NIV version of the same verses reads, “Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.  Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.”

Which is the correct translation?  Is it “serve” or “worship”?  Well, it’s both.  The Hebrew word that is translated “serve” and “worship” is the word “abad”.  It simply means to work or serve and in the context of Psalm 100 it’s specifically referring to all work done because of our love and devotion to God.

Now, when I read the word “worship”, I immediately think of singing praise songs or attending church worship service.  And, when I read the word “serve”, I naturally think of deeds of service for God and not songs of praise or thanksgiving.  However, with God, there is no distinction.  In God’s eyes, to worship the Lord with gladness is to sing to Him in church but it’s also to serve Him as an usher.  And to serve the Lord with gladness is to be a teacher in church school but it’s also to make a joyful noise unto the Lord!

With God, our worship is our service and our service is our worship.  All that you do for Him - whether it is to not provoke your children to anger, to honor your husbands, to nurture and cherish your wives, to sing songs of praise during your commute to work, to patiently listen to a friend, to work with integrity at your jobs, to sing in the choir, to set your eyes only on things that are pure and lovely, to not speak negatively behind someone’s back, or to lift your hands in praise and prayer – it is all worship in His eyes.  It is all service rendered unto Him!  This is what Paul was trying to communicate when he wrote in 1 Corinthians 10:31, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”  Everything is worship unto Him!

Beloved, our worship is our service and vice versa.  May the worship of our God be seen in the joyful deeds we do for those in need and may our loving deeds of service be a beautiful song of praise to the one who is good and whose love endures forever; whose faithfulness continues to all generations.