The Sacrifice of Praise
By Toby Crowder
Hebrews 13:15 “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.”
A few years ago, I became burdened over the lack of praise among God’s people in our worship services, for we truly have MUCH to praise Him for in our lives! I remember growing up with a generation of “shouters” who were not ashamed to praise God, and the story below is a (fictional) obituary that I wrote at the time for a message that I preached about the loss of such a generation. Will we, as God’s people, continue to offer Him the sacrifice of our PRAISE?
Sister Ima Shouter, no age given, of Anytown USA passed from existence recently. She was preceded by her relatives Brother Surrender, Aunt Faithful, and several other vital members of the church family. The exact cause of her death is unknown, but it is believed that pride, complacency, and indifference were contributing factors. She had been in a long period of declining health, but it was only noticed by a few who shared her convictions and her desires. Her presence will be greatly missed by many, yet sadly unnoticed by some.
Sister Shouter’s testimony began several years ago and for centuries she gave life and encouragement to the local church body. Her ancestry was evident in early Bible times and from the earliest recording of Scripture, she left her footprint in the lives of many dedicated Christians who were not ashamed of her presence. Her forerunners are seen in the pages of Scripture as early as Genesis 29 when Leah conceived and bore a son named Judah and said, “Now will I praise the Lord.” She may also have claimed kindred to the author of Psalm 32:11 who said, “Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart.” Her influence is seen throughout Scripture and the effects of her contagious spirit have been felt as recently as the present generation. Her health had been failing for years though; mostly due to those tasked with caring for her wellness in the local church.
Those who were familiar with her knew her to be a breath of fresh air and an encouragement to every Pastor and church who was blessed to have her in their assembly. She never sought to be lifted up or magnify herself in any way, but only to bring honor and glory to the name of Jesus Christ. She was often heard saying “Glory to God” and “It’s all about Him” in reply to those who tried to pay her a compliment. Over the years, many tried to imitate her life and work, but any who really knew her would know that she may often be imitated but would never be duplicated. She loved her home and her family, and this was evident in her undying devotion to them and the house of God. She was a faithful church member and always had time to spend with a struggling soul or offer a word of encouragement when it was most needed. Her fervent prayer life was an example to other families and churches far and wide.
Several mothers, aunts, and grandmothers looked to her for wisdom, guidance, and advice but Sister Shouter never realized how broad her influence was felt because her subjects were too busy or too involved to let her know. Many Pastors, Deacons, and fathers counted on her prayers and her gentle encouragement through the years as they raised their families and crops, and served the Lord. She was never in the forefront or desirous of attention, but her shouts of praise filled many eyes with tears and many hearts with a song. To those who knew her best, it seemed that her life was one drawn-out song of praise to her Savior. Simply put… she praised him for everything.
She leaves behind countless loved ones who looked to her, and whose example will continue to make a difference in the lives of several generations. Her presence will especially be missed in the local church body. She desired that others would follow her lead and give her God the glory that He is due. She was not ashamed to praise Him, or to testify, or to offer a shout when the Spirit moved on her. Her price was far above rubies, and her absence will leave a void in the local church body. She desired that her life and testimony would spread to those who loved her and that they would carry on her legacy of praising and worshipping the One who was worthy. In place of flowers, Sister Shouter has asked that you offer the “sacrifice of praise” because after all…. It was never about her; it was all about Him!
Toby Crowder serves as Pastor of Mt. Carmel Baptist Church in Spruce Pine. He and his wife Leslie have been married for 28 years and have two daughters, Emilee, and Katy. He can be contacted via the church’s website MCfamilyforChrist.org or firstname.lastname@example.org
You can read more from Pastor Crowder here.