Honoring the Night Shift

It is one of the shortest chapters in the Bible.  Nevertheless, its message carries great significance.  It is actually a song.  We know it as a Psalm.  Worship music can be quite controversial these days.  I continue to hear people complain about traditional versus contemporary, loud compared to contemplative, and I commonly hear the repetitive complaint that songs are too repetitive.  This is in spite of the rampant repetition in many of the divinely inspired worship songs of the Bible.  I’ll grin a bit in heaven when some dear saint exclaims, “How many times do we get to sing, ‘Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come’!” along with those who repeat it continually (Rev. 4:8), instead of grumbling, “How many times do we have to repeat Holy, Holy, Holy?”

However, there is no such repetition in this psalm.  It only has three stanzas, or verses in our vernacular.  It would not take up much time in the order of service, unless of course there was a long guitar solo and we repeated the words seven times or maybe twelve (they are holy numbers after all). 

It goes something like this:

                Behold, bless the Lord, all servants of the Lord,

                Who serve by night in the house of the Lord!

                Lift up your hands to the sanctuary,

                And bless the Lord.

                May the Lord bless you from Zion,

                He who made heaven and earth.

                                                                 Psalm 134

Now, admittedly, there may be a lot of hidden meaning in here that I’m not privy to.  But at face value, I ask the question, “Who are those who serve by night in the house of the Lord?”  I have a suspicion that the serve by night jobs in the ministry were not the plum opportunities that everyone was clamoring for.  Serve by night responsibilities were probably entry level.  Leftovers from the draft day of fantasy ministries.  Second tier.  Certainly they would have been fairly obscure and anonymous.  Who is around in the middle of the night to cheer on and encourage such laborers anyway? 

So basically, this is a worship song to say Thank You to the faithful, often nameless servants who consistently and quietly go about doing the Lord’s bidding.  They don’t get much in the way of accolades or props or standing O’s or even participation trophies.  The songwriter wants such people to know that in the heavenly Kingdom realms you are not forgotten or unnoticed.  You have been a blessing to the Lord and His people.  And He in turn will shine godly blessing upon you.

Many of you who read this are the humble, dependable, unobtrusive servants for whom this song of honor and thanks is written.  I want to add my gratitude for the soundless ripples you make on the surface of the Lord’s work.  Ripples that quietly spread and impact many others.  Ripples that not only travel outward but also move forward into the future in a movement of firm and marvelous legacy building.  Someday the King will look at you with love and appreciation and say, “Well done good and faithful servant.”

My role means that often I am the one on the platform with the microphone.  However, I want you to know that you are vitally important and critically necessary.  In glory you will be known and honored but I want to get a head start and say now, “Thank you, you servants by night for blessing the Lord and His house.  We couldn’t do it without you.”

Jeff Miller, District Superintendent