Tuesday, February 21, 2017

I'd Rather Be Ministering to the Lord

This Sunday the sermon was a reminder that our primary purpose in life is to worship God. In American church culture we often talk about serving God, ministering to others, studying the Bible, prayer, evangelism-- all good things. All things that help us in our relationship with God. All things that are expected, even required for us to follow Jesus. But we should not confuse all those things that are a help or a result of the worship of God with the actual worship of God. 

Perhaps that is too fine a point. After all aren't we supposed to "worship God with our lives." Well yes, of course. Everything we do can be an act of worship when we "practice the presence of God". We are, after all, told to present our bodies as sacrifices to God as our spiritual act of worship. I'm suggesting that it is good for us to remember that all the things we do in pursuit of worshiping God are in addition too the simple and pure act of holding God as the sole object of our worship. Is cleaning up your neighbor's yard an act of worship? It can be, if done for the purpose of Godly love. Is preparing a lesson for a small group worship? Sure. Singing, reading, praying, speaking, all these things can be acts of worship. What is important is that all of those things are rooted in a central concept of God our Creator held as the ultimate object of our affection.

All of that nuance and explanation comes down to a really simple point. I think we ought to spend some time doing nothing but worshiping God. This is basically prayer, but I mean a specific type of prayer where we are not asking for something or explaining something about ourselves to God. I mean a prayer where we gaze, the best we can, at God as we know him (knowing our conception falls short and He is greater than what we can conceive) and worship him. How much time should we spend doing this? I have no idea. I think the ultimate goal would be "all the time." There are things in this world, of course, that prevent that, but maybe it is a start to remember while we're doing all that other stuff that there is something else we ought to be doing. It's kind of like those bumper stickers that say, "I'd rather be...*insert your favorite pass time*" You know, "I'd rather be playing golf" or "I'd rather be spoiling my grandkids" etc.

We acknowledge that this world requires us to attend to other things. Perhaps it is our sinful nature or "the old selves" that requires it. Maybe it is God's plan to give us lesser things to help us understand and appreciate the Greater Thing. In any case, we are for a time, stuck with it. Yet, while we are attending to these lesser things we should be always mindful that there is a Greater Thing. As much and as often as we are able, we are breaking from these lesser things to catch all the glimpses we can of the Greater Thing himself. Those glimpses are what allow us to live the other parts of our lives as "a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God".

I don't want to diminish the "daily living" aspect of worship, but I would like to advocate that we set aside time to remember what we are made for: worship pure and simple. Set aside time in prayer that is for no other purpose than to meditate on and express in your heart the beauty, truth and greatness of our God. If that really is our ultimate purpose then time spent doing it will never be wasted.