I have often heard the term “sacrifice of praise” in regard to our worship as we lift up our voices, our hands, and even our prayers. It is a recurring theme prevalent among song services, and even used as an encouragement for attendance. Let us also consider that there are other ways to offer praise. The writer of Hebrews begins chapter 13 with “Let brotherly love continue.” This chapter focuses on the tangible actions, such as praise, that love produces.
To offer praise to someone is to bring recognition to them. We can offer praise to our Lord and Savior every day of our life, whether we are in church, singing a song about him, lifting our hands in adoration, or taking time to read our bible and pray.
When we show acts of kindness and get along with others, it brings praise to our heavenly Father by the ability for others to recognize Christ in our lives. Hebrews 13:15-16 says, “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. 16 But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” When we speak good things, and offer thanks to God with words from our mouth, that’s great — we are supposed to do that! But when we leave the house of God and return to our daily routines we are to remember “to do good” and fellowship with others, because if we don’t then our praise was empty and vain! Acts of kindness and sharing are pleasing to God, this is another way we praise Him, even if these actions go unnoticed by others.
We can’t say one thing and then do another. This is true in every aspect of life, but in particular to our spiritual walk. People aren’t going to put much stock into what you believe when you praise your Savior and yet do the opposite of what He says in His Word. It is our sacrifices that offer true praise and honor. Notice in verse 15 the writer did not simply say praise, but the “sacrifice of praise.”
Speaking good things when everything around us is going good is not much of a sacrifice. We are to have such a relationship with Christ, that even in dark and trying times we are still able to praise Him. The psalmist wrote in chapter thirty-four verse one, “I will bless the Lord at all times”. This is true praise, when it can be offered at any time, regardless of the discord and confusion that may go on around us.
Let me encourage you today to sacrifice kindness to someone. Even if they don’t seem to appreciate it, you can rejoice in knowing you are pleasing the Father in heaven and offering a sacrifice of praise. If it were easy, everybody would do it. Nevertheless, I don’t want to be an everybody, I want to be found faithful when I stand before His throne!
I pray, “Lord, help follow through with the thanks that I say to you. Let my actions support the words of praise I have offered because of Your love, forgiveness, grace, and mercy, that I so desperately need. I want to show others the kindness you have shown to me, even though it is difficult at times, give me the strength I need to sacrifice praise in all I do, in Jesus’ name, amen.”
Rev. Cathleen N. Cathcart is pastor of New Life Worship Center in Spartanburg.