July 13, 2023 • Life for Leaders
Scripture — Psalm 150:3-5 (NRSV)
Praise him with trumpet sound;
praise him with lute and harp!
Praise him with tambourine and dance;
praise him with strings and pipe!
Praise him with clanging cymbals;
praise him with loud clashing cymbals!
Psalm 150, the last of the biblical Psalms, urges us to praise the Lord exuberantly. In part, we do this by using the products of our work. Psalm 150 mentions musical instruments, all of which are made by human hands. But, by analogy, we can also praise God through other kinds of work if we offer it to God as worship.
I’ve loved Psalm 150 for as long as I can remember. I’ve read it many times in my personal devotions and at least a dozen times in worship, using its inspired words to stir up the people I’m leading to praise God with all they have and are.
Until recently, though, it never occurred to me that this psalm urges us to praise God with the products of human work. I know that’s a prosaic way to put it, but it’s true. Consider the fact that trumpets, lutes, harps, tambourines, strings, pipes, and cymbals are instruments made by human hands. It’s as if the psalm writer is saying: “Take the products of your work and use them to praise the Lord!”
I’ve known a few people who were experts in crafting musical instruments. Most of us, however, aren’t skilled in this sort of work. But the truth of Psalm 150 is relevant to us as well. We too can offer the fruit of our labor to the Lord. We can seek to praise God through our work even if what we produce isn’t what we usually associate with corporate worship.
Gracious God, you are worthy of all the praise we could ever give you.
We praise you with trumpets and trucks, with lutes and lumber.
We praise you with harps and hardware, with tambourines and tables.
We praise you with dance and data, with strings and strawberries.
We praise you with pipes and pizza, with cymbals and symbols.
Today, O God, I praise you as I work, using the gifts and opportunities you have given me for your purposes and glory. May what I produce through my work praise you. May how I do my work praise you. May the way I treat others praise you. May what I say praise you.
In all that I do today, dear Lord, may I truly live for the praise of your glory! Amen.
Ponder Throughout the Day
Praise God through your work today.
For Further Reflection
Read all of Psalm 150.
You may also wish to read Ephesians 1:11-14.
Banner image by Hal Gatewood on Unsplash.
Find all Life for Leaders devotions here. Explore what the Bible has to say about work at the unique website of our partners, the Theology of Work Project’s online commentary. Reflection on today’s Life for Leaders theme can be found here: Psalm 150.
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Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.