What is Worship?
When most of us hear the word “worship,” we tend to think of a particular hour we hold sacred on a Sunday morning or maybe picture someone with eyes closed and hands raised while singing a moving song. While each of those can be acts of worship, worship itself is much-broader concept. Worship, at its core, is the act of ascribing worth and honor and glory to God.
In his letter to the Romans, Paul urges Christ-followers to present themselves as living sacrifices, going on to explain that this is true worship. Imagine the audacity of your entire existence being an act of ascribing worth and honor and glory to God. A recent study at Gettysburg College found that the average American will spend one third of his/her life at work. Thus, we make our occupations one of our primary forms of worship.
How Do We Worship?
Worship at the workplace has traditionally been one of the more difficult things for many of us to reconcile, so here are 5 simple things you can do this week to not only to give yourself an opportunity to worship at work, but to make your work worship itself. And in doing so, you create daily patterns of loving the Lord with all of your soul.
It seems so obvious yet constantly eludes us. Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians that we should pray without ceasing. He doesn’t intend for us to be on our knees with heads bowed and eyes closed every moment of our day. He is simply reminding us that we are called to be in constant communication with our Creator. Spend time this week intentionally talking to God. Bring Him your thoughts, your frustrations, and your desires. Bare your soul to Him. But most of all, be open to listening to what He has to say.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus addresses the general public for the first time in the gospel of Matthew. Among other things, Jesus reminds the gathered crowd that it is impossible to be a slave for two masters—we cannot serve both God and money. In the following verses, Jesus goes on to surgically dissect the heart of our pursuit of money, possessions, and security, which is a lack of faith in our heavenly Father. We have convinced ourselves that we must provide for our basic needs by our own efforts, which evolves into a desperate need to acquire more and more once we realize we still aren’t satisfied. As we work, we can worship by trusting His sovereignty, believing that He does in fact care for us more than the birds of the air and lilies of the field. We can trust that we are defined by our identity as sons and daughters of the Creator of the Universe and not the title on our business card. Our faithfulness and trust are worship in its purest form.
3. Focus on gospel-centered relationships.
In the Great Commission, Jesus commands His closest followers to go and make disciples. “Go” in the great commission could be translated “as you go,” as in “as you go in your life, be making disciples of Jesus.” There is no better place to practice the Great Commission than in our workplace. The relationships we build are a perfect opportunity to bring honor to God and begin to reflect His glory into those around us. That doesn’t always mean handing out gospel tracts around the water cooler or even inviting the guy in the next cubicle to church on Sunday. What it does mean is being intentional about the way we interact with, get to know, and love those God has entrusted to us.
4. Practice His presence.
Brother Lawrence was a poor dishwasher, cook, and cobbler in a 17th-century French monastery. During his many years as a monk, he came to a deep understanding of what it meant to practice the presence of God. Practicing God’s presence is a deeply biblical idea. It means discerning, and developing habits for discerning, an awareness of God’s presence. So often we relegate God’s presence to the bricks and mortar of a church building or perhaps the limited time we are in a small group. The actual truth that Brother Lawrence (and others) latched onto is that all of life is lived in the presence of God. There’s no part of it, nothing too mundane or ordinary, that isn’t occupied by him. This week, immerse your soul in Him.
In his first letter to the church at Corinth, Paul urges the believers to do everything to the glory of God. That is, every action you perform—eating, drinking, and even working—should be done as worship. While you’re folding laundry, filing TPS reports, or sitting in your tenth meeting of the day, remind yourself that your efforts, attention, and attitude in each task can absolutely glorify your Creator. Brother Lawrence committed to doing “little things for the love of God, who regards not the greatness of the work, but the love with which it is performed.” Pick one ordinary task that you do with regularity, and each time you go to do it this week, seek to do it to the honor of God. Always thank Him as you go and love Him with all of your soul.