The Highest Occupation
By John McCoury
Roan Mountain, Tennessee
THE NEXT TIME YOU SING THE HYMN IN A WORSHIP SERVICE, remember that you are singing Scripture, a version of Psalm 100.
This psalm is a digest of instructions on how to worship the Lord. Who should worship the Lord? “Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands!” (v. 1). God wants the whole world to worship and give thanks to Him. Why are we to go into all the world and preach the Gospel? So that all the world will one day be able to make a joyful shout to the Lord. How should we worship the Lord?
First, by serving.
“Serve the Lord with gladness; come before His presence with singing” (v. 2). We are to serve the Lord with gladness because there’s joy in our hearts and because the joy of the Lord gives strength. Joyful noise leads to joyful service. If we are to serve the Lord joyfully our words must become deeds. Jesus warns against hypocritical worship in Matt 15:8. How are we to serve the Lord genuinely?
We serve willingly.
We are redeemed to do what God wants us to do. This verse was meaningful to Old Testament Jews because they knew about servitude. God delivered them from slavery in Egypt so they might serve Him.
We serve exclusively.
We cannot serve the Lord and someone else at the same time (Matt. 6:24; Exod. 20:2-3). But we can serve others for Jesus’ sake. Our goal is to please Him alone. Our power, wisdom, and the plans for our lives come from Him alone.
We serve joyfully.
Sometimes we are like the elder brother in the parable of the prodigal son; we may do the Father’s will and work, but we are not far from His heart. God doesn’t want our service to be drudgery or to be done grudgingly. When we serve Him joyfully, we enjoy growth, development, and excitement. Are you happy serving the Lord? We praise God most effectively through our service to Him. Are you Engaged in service to the Lord in your church or community? When you offer your service to the Lord willingly and joyfully you glorify his name, let your words of praise lead to acts of praise!
Second, we worship Him by singing.
“Come before His presence with singing.” I fear that too often in our services singing becomes routine. We hold the hymnal and sing the songs that we know so well, but our minds and hearts are a million miles away. Think about and rejoice in the words you sing. We also worship the Lord by submitting to Him. “Know that the Lord, God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture” (v. 3). Submit to Him. Follow Him. Obey Him.
Finally, we worship the Lord by sacrifice.
“Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise” (v. 4). You don’t need to sacrifice animals on an altar, but you can give your time, money, and skills. Why should we worship the Lord? “For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations” (v. 5) The highest occupation of the Christian life is worshiping the Lord. Never allow your worship to become routine or artificial. Worship Him with a joyful and thankful heart by serving, singing, submitting, and sacrificing