Richard Saunders, Grindstone Bible Church
Worship is one of the most misunderstood concepts in our time. The Enlightenment invited us to compartmentalize life. We can have our recreational, family, career and worship times but they are independent of one another.
So what is worship?
Quite simply, it is giving worth, thus ‘worthship,’ to something. In connection with the Judeo/Christian tradition, it is the intentional ascribing of worth to God. However, it does not require much insight to see that humans are always ascribing worth to something.
Perhaps the most universal form of worship in our society is the shopping mall. There, we enter a timeless – no clocks, no windows on the wall, just the heavens above – place of worship.
We put our gifts on the altar and receive our god experience, as well as paraphernalia that identify us as worshippers. This is all accompanied by adrenalin that gives us transcendence…. We feel complete, if only for one moment. This is worship.
Our thoughts and behaviours point to what we believe is worthy of our best efforts and investment. Our thoughts and actions are fundamentally worship-oriented.
Each of our lives is ordered around what we value, what we desire. We are giving worth to what we pursue. In other words, our attitudes and behaviours reveal what we worship, not whether we worship. We are all giving worth to something or things every day.
This means that our whole lives are intimately connected to worship. And that matters because what you worship forms essentially you; it gives you identity, belonging and self-understanding.
The more you worship, the more you will come to look like the object of worship.
Money, sex and power are all common objects of worship, but when they are made ultimate they are distorted. Jesus said, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also,” (Matt 6:21).
When good things are made ultimate, they become destructive even to the point of physical and spiritual death.
In our day-to-day, this might mean a changed approach or changed behaviours. I often know what I ought to do but do not follow through.
I would recommend reflecting on your last week, day or hour and seeing where they point in terms of worship, and would humbly put forth that knowing is not enough and that prayer, reflection and Scripture – while they can be abused – with an honest heart will lead us towards integrating, life-giving worship.
The Christian call to worship is not to abandon everything good, but to orient them in light of their Creator and Saviour.