Worship = work?

A quick quiz… Ask this at your family dinner table. (Or wherever your family is gathered together.) What do the following two Bible verses have in common?

Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.
Psalm 100:2


Six days you shall labor and do all your work.
Exodus 20:9

Ahh? Joyful worship is what you do after your 6-day work week is up?

Not what I had in mind.

Okay, so I asked a toughie. This is something that I didn’t know! (Probably because it involves being acquainted with Hebrew.) The Old Testament was originally written in Hebrew. The Hebrew word used for “worship” in Psalm 100:2 (abad) is also the same word translated as “labor” in the verse from Exodus. The word abad also means to serve. It appears that the ancient Israelites did not always differentiate between worship, and work or service!

The Cool Disciples have been studying Psalm 100. They may recall the first week of our Rotation when we served as groundskeepers for the downtown church. They learned that worship and work are synonymous. (And I know for a fact that they experienced joy in their serving!)

We might think of the word worship as what happens for an hour once a week, but in reality this word worship includes what we may do at any time – experience joy in serving the Lord. According to the psalmist, this joy is to be expressed with gladness and thanksgiving.

Kids work on creating school kits

If worship is actually the way we should live… if it involves serving others… what can you do together as a family in service/worship? Here are some suggestions (some of them are new and up-coming – marked with **):

  • L.O.V.E. Thy Neighbor: Help make sandwich lunches for the homeless. Friday nights from 6:30pm-8:30pm. Read more the L.O.V.E. program here.
  • Birthdays@Bryant: Put together a birthday kit (including a cake mix and frosting) for a child that otherwise would go without.
  • ** FiSH FRI: A Third Friday Mission Event. Not a Fish Fry! Our kind of FiSH Fri(day) will be all about filling needs in our community, each third Friday of the month. The first one will be on September 16, from 6:30-8:30.
  • ** Meals Ministry. Making meals for stressed families – maybe they’ve had a new baby! Involve your kids in planning a meal, shopping and preparation and delivery. I still remember a church member who brought us a meal after I was in the hospital. She very patiently unloaded our supper and her two small children and brought them to the door to deliver the meal. What a great lesson her kids learned that day – service!

What sort of service worship are you planning?

Photo credits: Click here for info on banner photo (not visible in readers or email).
Other photo from the Vacation Bible Camp archives.