Happy New Year!
I believe that one could make a case for worship as being not only a deliberate act of bowing to the Lord, but also the simple, deliberate act of just obeying Him.
In Genesis we saw that man was to have dominion over the earth, and to be fruitful and multiply, and to abstain from eating of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Obedience to each of these is an act of worship. When God’s creatures do what they are supposed to be doing, He is glorified.
Yet, eating of the fruit (in the Garden), refusing to spread out over the earth and populate all of it (e.g. the Tower of Babel), and not having dominion over the earth are many of the ways in which humans have failed to honor and glorify God. Failing to obey His other commands is also a failure to worship Him.
- Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men
- I. Corinthians 10:31 Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
Now remember, if we can work but are unwilling to, then we shouldn’t eat (II. Thessalonians 3:10). But, aside from being disabled or physically restricted, we should all work because it glorifies God. Of course the amount and type of work we do will diminish with age, or with physical abilities, but to sit still in life and not work when you can not only fails to worship God, but it also has severe negative repercussions on one’s physical and mental health.
Did you know that our eternity will be marked by work? First off, God is our example:
- John 15:17 But He answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working.”
Second, we are told in Revelation 14:13 tells us that we will “rest from our labors” in the eternal Kingdom. However, that word for “labors” is “toils” in the Greek. It is always used to denote negative aspects of work and this verse means we will rest from the hard, endless, work that wearies us. The farmer who fights against bad soil, unpredictable weather, diseases, and predators is toiling. The mechanic who keeps fixing cars that keep breaking down that keep getting fixed only to break down again is toiling. The girl behind the counter at McDonald’s getting paid minimum wage to serve you a Big Mac with fries and a smile when customers are impatient, when the McFlurry machine is broken on a 90°day, and the floor is greasy and slippery is toiling.
But, we are also told that we will work in eternity (just that it won’t be toiling work, but rather, enjoyable, even relaxing):
- Revelation 22:3 There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him;
- (Describing work in the New Kingdom) Isaiah 65:21-23 “They will build houses and inhabit them; They will also plant vineyards and eat their fruit. They will not build and another inhabit, They will not plant and another eat; For as the lifetime of a tree, so will be the days of My people, And My chosen ones will wear out the work of their hands. They will not labor in vain, Or bear children for calamity; For they are the offspring of those blessed by the LORD, And their descendants with them.”
Thus, since our eternity will be spent in worship of Him, and work is both a means of worship here on earth as well as in glory, we should seek to do so to lift Him up and bear a testimony that we are His loving, obedient servants.
And, all other forms of obedience to Him (proclaiming His Good News, loving our neighbors, praying for one another, spending time in His Word, and so forth) are all means of worshiping Him as well. While there is a significantly important necessity to bow to Him in humble worship, there is also an important necessity to view all aspects of our lives as worship to Him.
- There is no “retiring while on active duty” in God’s army. We are to be active until we die, and working is one of His requirements for our lives.
- Have you ever considered work as a form of worship before? __________________________________________________
- Do you realize that working a job is more important to God than what job you have (except if that job was an immoral one)? In other words, the head fry guy at McDonald’s or the top-end executive bringing in 6 figures are both performing significantly valuable work in God’s economy because both are working. Have you ever looked at your life and said, “I’m working a dead-end job that’s going nowhere”? ____________________________
- If so, then remove that thought from your head. Any job you do can be valuable to spreading the Gospel and showing the love of Christ.
- This doesn’t mean you can’t pursue jobs with better pay or work environments. But, I think we tend to look down on certain classes of people and certain types of jobs. Granted, I personally don’t want to work in the sewage department, but I sure am glad there are people who do work there.
- Are you humble enough to work a low-end job if that’s what it takes to make ends meet, or if that’s all you can find should your current job lay you off? _____________________________________________
- Since obedience to God is a form of our worship, what areas do you struggle to obey God in? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- Confess those to Him now.
- Make a plan to begin obeying Him in those areas right away.
- There is a point in our lives where we may retire from our full-time vocational jobs. That doesn’t mean, however, that you are to quit working. There are so many places you can involve yourself between church volunteering, community volunteering (a great place to be a witness), or even a part-time job.
- What are some examples from the Bible that you can recall of people who were still working in their latter years? ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Have a Happy New Year as we continue on this week discovering different aspects of worship so that we can be like the peasant shepherds who not only worshiped Him by their vocation, but responded to the call to come to Him humbly.