I’m honored to share for this week’s Worship Wednesday what God has been teaching me about how worthless work becomes worship.

When Worthless Work Becomes Worship

by Liz Giertz

When I wore the uniform making sure the commander knew my name was one of my primary concerns. 

From the meticulously parked trucks in the motor pool to the perfectly prepared presentation. From boots so shiny I could see my reflection to crisply starched BDU’s (yes, I know I’m dating myself). I wanted the commander to remember my name. In a good way.

I didn’t realize it then but I was making an idol of myself,

my work,

my worth. 

I was literally worshiping myself by working for praise and admiration from others. Every award, accolade, and attaboy spurred me on toward my own definition of greatness. Each promotion and key position only prompted me to work that much harder to prove myself.

Seeking praise for my work well done often only leaves me worried, weary, or eventually wounded when I fail to meet the mark. Because I will inevitably mess up, especially when I work in my own strength and for my own glory. Believe me, I showed all the signs back then. I just didn’t know they were all warning me of impending burnout, break down, or fall from the pedestal I’d worked so hard to climb. 

In the decade or so since taking off that uniform, I’ve learned the hard truth—works done for the glory of anyone but the Lord are worthless. All the effort I poured into making a name for myself had no eternal value. They don’t carry a lot of earthly weight anymore either, as hardly anyone remembers what I did way back when. 

Now, I’ve learned how to identify my pride before it causes a fall by asking one simple question before I pour any effort into an endeavor.

Whose name do I want them to remember?

If the answer is my own, then I know I’m headed for trouble. It is then that my work is worthless.

But if I want them to remember Jesus, I’m more likely on the right track. It’s not that I don’t strive for excellence anymore, it’s just that the purpose of my work has evolved. That is how worthless work becomes worship.

Creating all points to the Creator.

Comforting others, I show them who the Great Comforter is.

Offering provisions to those in need, I pray they will turn their eyes to our Heavenly Provider.

Serving sacrificially, even when it’s inconvenient, I pray they will instead see the One whose sacrifice saves them.

Leading with wisdom and discernment, I desire more that they would know the One from whom all truth and wisdom originate. 

Living with hope, even when life is hard, I share the source of that hope Who resides both in my heavenward home and my heart.

Doing all things with excellence, I reflect the glory of the One who is far more excellent than I could ever comprehend.

When Worthless Work Becomes Worship

Remembering any skills or abilities I have came from God pushes aside personal pride. Pondering the fact that every second of time or ounce of energy I have to succeed at my tasks is a gift from God eliminates my ego. Knowing my worth doesn’t come from the work I do, but rather the work Jesus did for me puts a stop to self-promotion. Attributing all my achievements to the One who created me makes my work an act of worship.

We pursue excellence to point others toward the One who exceeds all others; that is when our worthless work becomes worship. 

Listen to Only Jesus by Casting Crowns and pray for Godly inspiration to surrender your success for His glory and make your work an act of worship.