Many years ago, I heard a pastor pose this question: “Do you know the difference between praise and worship?”
The question gave me pause. I’d been a Christian for years, but I’d never truly defined the words separately. So often in Christianese, the two terms come bundled: Praise and worship choruses. Praise and worship teams. Praise and worship time. Usually those packages involve music.
To this day, that preacher’s explanation gives me reason for reflection. Although there can be some overlap, he said, praise is ascribing glory to God for what He has done. Worship is ascribing glory to God simply for who He is. That is, even if God had never done all the things for which we thank and praise Him—if He had created His angels and called it quits right there, without ever speaking the heavens and earth into existence—then He would still be worthy of all the adoration—worship—that the angels could muster! God is awesome, even apart from His divine creation.
So, how does that insight reflect upon you, Christian writer? Here’s how: Your attitude of adoration for God need not be restricted to certain hours in a church service, or to a time of singing, or even to a time of prayer. If the Heavenly Father has bestowed on you a knack for writing, then you can utilize every finger tap on your keyboard as an expression of worship to the King of kings. That article, devotional, short story, or novel manuscript that you’re developing? It can serve as your personal act of worship now, as you type it, regardless of whether it ever gets published.
The key, I think, to worshiping the Lord in your writing lies in the attitude of the author. Certainly, not every piece of writing is an expression of worship. Many writers churn out stories that are testaments to their own pride, or lust, or simply to earn a few bucks. However, the writer who acknowledges his or her gift for wordsmithing comes from God and harnesses that gift to create written works as an offering back to Him is already on holy ground. Stylistically speaking, it might not be ready for mass distribution. Spiritually speaking, though, that manuscript can be more pleasing to God than a New York Times bestseller.
Praise God for what He has done. Worship God in all that you do—including writing.
“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31)
Rick Barry has published over 200 short stories and articles, plus two novels, Gunner's Run and Kiriath's Quest.