Does anyone besides me get annoyed when people refer to the music portion of a church service as the "worship" time, or the "worship" portion of the service?
As a pastor, I have always seen the whole meeting time as a time for worship. Sunday School is worship....singing is worship....praying together is worship....giving of the tithes and offerings is worship...and the preaching is worship.
Then today I read a passage in Romans that I have read many, many, many times. But, as often happens when reading scripture, it hit me different today.
Here is the scripture:
Romans 12:-2: Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is TRUE WORSHIP. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Now I think the main reason is that I normally have read this out of the NIV and this time I was reading out of the TNIV. In the NIV the word "true" is not used. Instead it uses the word "spiritual act" instead. In the KJV it says it is your "resonable service", while the ESV uses the word "spiritual" like the NIV. The Amplified version translates that portion of the verse this way: "your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship", so it includes resonable, service, spiritual and worship all joined together.
I went to the original languages to try and see if it could shed any light on this for me. I found that the word for "service" in the KJV and "worship" in some of the other translations was a greek word "latreia" and that it meant "ministration of God, i.e. worship - (divine) service". It comes from the word "latreno", which means ""to minister (to God), i.e. render relgious homage: serve-do the service, worship(er)"
So I by looking at this it tells me that my whole life is to be an act of worship. That our whole life is to be an act of worship. I'm to offer up myself, I am to become worship, (don't misunderstand me here-I did not say I am to be worshipped, only God is to be worshipped). My life is to be worship. I am to serve God in all that I do.
What does that look like?
Well, I can only imagine. I think it would look something like this:
That job that I hate, those people I work with that get on my nerves, I am to present myslef in such a way that they can look at me and say, "Wow. There's something different about him. He isn't working for a paycheck, or just putting in his time. It's like he's doing this for a higher cause."
With our families, we would live as though we are a worshipper. The way we handled ourselves around them, the things we did for entertainment, the things we do for education, the things we do for each other, would all show that our purpose in life is not self pleasure, self fullfilment, self satisfaction, instead it is for an audience of ONE.
This has made me think harder about what true worship is.
Can I worship God on Sunday morning if I live a life of 'un-worship" Monday through Saturday? Can I turn worship on and off at my will? Is it a feeling? Is it an emotion? Is it Sunday morning rituals?
To answer the first question, yes I can worship God on Sunday morning if I live a life of "un-worship" Monday through Saturday, but is it true worship? I don't think so.
To answer the other questions, I beleive the answer is "no". True worship is life. It is living for Christ in all that we do. Is Sunday morning worship special? Sure it is. But so is looking up at the stars at night and giving thanks to the maker of the stars. So is going to a childs softball game and enjoying all that God has made, the weather, the food, the yelling, the celebrating, the people all around us.
The way we live our lives is to be a sacrifce to God. That is a life of worship. To tie it all together, it is to do all the things I just mentioned, but doing it with the attitude that it is all a gift from God and that you are willing to offer it all back up to him at any time, because He is worthy. Because He is God. Because He is merciful to us.
Ok, I gotta go worship God now by picking my son up from school...hope to see some of you at worship sometime soon, maybe at a church service, or maybe at Wal-mart.