This past Lordís Day we here in central Iowa received a substantial amount of snowfall. As such, we were forced to cancel our services that morning. Based upon the radio broadcast and the television broadcasts there were many churches throughout Iowa that were forced to do the same thing.
This propelled me to ask, what did all these God worshipping people do with a Sunday morning off? Did they use the extra time to watch the pre-game shows that they donít normally get to watch because services always seem to run long? Did they run to Wal-Mart to get some last minute Christmas shopping in? Did they roll over and choose to sleep in? I know many were plowing drives and scooping the snow of the sidewalks all across town, but it does make me wonder if anyone took the time to worship God last Sunday morning.
The sad reality is that many likely didnít. In fact, while I was not in the home of all these Iowans whose typical time of worship was cancelled, I would feel comfortable saying most didnít worship because they misunderstand what worship is in the 1st place.
While I understand that not every act of worship can be engaged in while we were snowed in (such as partaking the Lordís Supper with a local body of saints and the taking up of a collection), the other act of worship (singing, praying, and the study of Godís word) could certainly be done in the warmth and comfort of our own homes. If you didnít engage in the worship of God on Sunday ask yourself why? Was it because you were snowed in? Did the snow keep you from studying Godís word? Did the snow keep you from praying to God? Certainly not. I think the biggest misconception concerning worship is the fact that most people think that it only something that happens when the church has gathered together. But, the worship of God is so much more.
The Jews were commanded to go to a specific place to worship God, the temple. But, Jesus taught there was a time coming where the true worshippers did not go to a specific place, but worshipped in spirit and truth (John 4:24). This does not mean that we shouldnít gather with the saints when they meet, however, at the same time it tells us that where we meet is not nearly as important as the nature of our heart. If our heart is not in the right place it doesnít matter where you are physically, it will never be acceptable to God. Likewise, if we are worshippers of God in spirit and truth, we will find opportunities to worship Him.
In Rom. 12:1 Paul writes, ďI beseech you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, pleasing to God, which is your reasonable service.Ē How do we present ourselves a living sacrifice? By not being conformed to this world but by being transformed (Rom. 12:2). In other words, instead of fully giving to yourself, you give yourself wholly to God. What are the evidences of such sacrifices?
Not all free time is me time. For instance, due to the cancellation of services this past week, my bible class notes were already prepared for today. My sermon was already prepared for today. I could use this as an opportunity to take a vacation. After all this past week was a holiday for everyone. Or I could use it to study, catch up on some reading I have meant to get to on parenthood, or spend a little more time working in the Lordís vineyard. This is not to say that I canít sit down and relax with the family, but to make certain that not all my free time is me time.
The collection. A person that gives themselves fully to the Lord does not look for reasons to not give. Instead they look for reasons to give. For instance, which one of us was blessed last week financially? I know I was. Which one(s) of you intended on giving to the Lord last week? Did not coming to services all of sudden render last weekís offering to God useless? For the one that gives themself fully to God would not see the missed services as a financial windfall. They would see it as an opportunity to give last weekís offering and this weekís offering at the time of this weekís collection.
What is most fascinating about this passage in Romans though is the fact that not one mention of the acts of worship is made in connection to our sacrifice unto God. In context, our sacrifice is our daily lives. Which should lead us to understand that even if I donít gather with the saints on Monday my life, if lived correctly, should glorify God. And in doing soÖ I worship God.
So I ask you the same question, did you worship God last Lordís day? I know that I did. I also did it Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. I hope that you did to.
Grinnell church of Christ
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What is Worship?
Volume 5 Issue 4