Do you know how to worship God? Are there times you wonder if it even matters? Today, Pastor Michael Hayward details our ideals of worship & why it matters.
Do you ever wonder why it’s called a “church service?” The dynamic works like this: the whole community gathers in the building, a handful of people serve through teaching, music, ushering, etc., and everyone else is there to be served. There is help needed in the nursery, but we don’t want to miss the sermon so we don’t offer to serve.
They could use a couple more ushers, but we want to be able to lift hands and sing. We limit worship to singing and listening, but when you take a good look at the body of Christ in scripture, worship is infinitely bigger than that. Singing and listening only benefits you. True and proper worship will bless others as well.
When God works in, through, and around us and reveals something of himself we are invited to respond to him. That response is our worship. I understand the body language of raising your hands when you sing worship songs. It is a posture of openness and surrender…surrender. Are you not surrendering those hands – and their works – to God? I doubt he wants you to just lift them. I bet he wants those hands to do something for him eventually. Science says that every action creates an equal and opposite reaction. Something is similar in worship.
When God shows his generosity to you, the proper response is gratitude and generosity toward others. When God shows you mercy, the proper act of worship is gratitude and a show of mercy to others. When God corrects and trains you, the proper worshipful response is praise and gratitude…and to edify the walk of others. Do you see? Every act of God teaches you something of his character and compels you to turn around and share him with someone else by doing likewise.
It is selfish – even wicked – to keep God to yourself. When God shows you generosity, who are you to keep it for yourself? In fact, Jesus taught us to pray, “Forgive us our sins as we have forgiven those who sin against us.” When God shows you mercy, you cannot keep it to yourself and withhold it from others; not if you truly understand what you have been given. I’ve often said that the greatest expression of gratitude is to put to good use the gift you’ve been given. So what does it indicate if you choose to keep it to yourself?
Not only has God shown generosity, mercy, forgiveness, and the like, but he has also given other gifts: the gift of preaching, of teaching, the gifts of prophecy and miracles, gifts of healing and hospitality. Read 1 Corinthians 12, Romans 12, and Ephesians 4 for a list of spiritual gifts. Each one who is surrendered to Christ is a member of his body and has 1) been given a gift by the Holy Spirit, and 2) is placed by the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ in order that they may use that gift to contribute to the common good. To simply edify yourself is to refuse the Holy Spirit and defy his authority. Your service – your obedience – is your act of worship.
Being an active part of the body means sharing life with the members of your church family. Your act of service may not take place within the context of corporate worship, but perhaps one-on-one as you invest in the lives of other people. Your service does not have to look like “ministry,” or follow a “program,” or have a definitive “structure.”
In fact, these things can often make a mess of real ministry and hinder the effectiveness of the body. Real ministry is worship – responding to God as he reveals his self by reflecting him to the lives around you. We will sing How Great is Our God, but will you tell and show others how great your God is? We sing that “all of You is more than enough for all of me,” but will we show others the sufficiency of God through our own generosity? In other words, we sing about worship…but will you really worship?
Do you want to go deeper in your walk with Jesus? You might also like Pastor Mike’s article Why Are You Here?
To learn more about the author visit Pastor Michael Hayward