When we think of worship, what do we visualize? Oftentimes I think our focus turns to those activities that we involve ourselves each Sunday. When we are gathered together to worship God, we find ourselves following the pattern of the early disciples in the New Testament as they sang, as they prayed, as they remembered the Lord’s sacrifice during the memorial supper, as they gave of their means as they had been prospered and of course as they heard the word of God proclaimed. This is probably what is considered when we think of worship. Man’s attempt to define worship is “an expression of the relationship between believers and God.” So, what is worship?
In Matt 5:16, Jesus said “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Paul wrote to Christians in Rome saying “I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” Based on these two passages, it seems when we become Christ’s disciples, everything we do or say could become a form of worship. Paul followed up by saying “be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” If we are truly transformed and presenting our bodies as a living and holy sacrifice, then we will be doing that which expresses our relationship with God.
I submit to you other acts that could be considered as worship when done as an “expression of our relationship with God.” When we are evangelistic (reaching out to those who are lost), benevolent (having good-will toward all men, especially those of the household of faith), or when we are edifying (building up) the body of Christ we are expressing our love for God by reaching out to one another in these ways. Whenever we allow our love for God to express itself by these activities, I believe we are worshiping God. This in no way lessens the need for the assembly of Christians together, for these very things are done during our worship assemblies as well.
Keep in mind that there is a “proper” or “acceptable” way that this is done. For those who do these things “to be seen of men,” they have their reward already (Matt 6:5). There are many who worship in vain (Mt 15:9) in that their worship is “empty, of no real significance or worth.” They are those whose hearts are far from God and prophesied by Isaiah. Let us do as encouraged by James, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” (James 4:8)
God has always had the good of Man at heart and in this text is becomes clear. He loves us and as a result the man that searches for Him with all his heart will be truly blessed. How much heart are you putting into your search for the God that awaits your coming? (See Matthew 22:37, 38) Less than all may not be enough.
Copyright © 2002, Nolan P. Rutter