True and Proper Worship
I had an interesting thought while I was in church yesterday morning. My pastor was talking about how we need to fully give our lives up to God, to let Him show us where we are trying to live on our own strength. He compared it to him working in his garden, which he loves to do, and how every time he pulls out a weed, he is praying that God would show him how to pull the "weeds" out of his life. So I started to think about it and how it applies to me. I mean, I really don't enjoy working in the garden; I used to get paid to tend my neighbor's ridiculously large gardens, and it was the worst job I have ever had, but I like programming, so maybe this could be the same for me as gardening is with my pastor.
Now I am an Android app developer, and at the beginning of November I released my first app on the Google Play Store, a tool to help memorize Scripture. I wrote it because I wanted it as a tool for myself, but I also know that countless others could use it as well, and I know now that God has given me a gift of wanting to write programs because He wants it to become a form of worship for me, and He wants to use my talents for His glory. I even received a prophetic word once, where God wanted me to know explicitly that He wants me to worship Him with my brain in a way that looks quite strange and you wouldn't normally think of as worship.
So this kind of changes what it means to worship, doesn't it? I remember growing up, before I knew Christ, hearing that in heaven we will worship the Lord Jesus all day, every day, and thinking that singing songs all day sounds a bit boring. But I really don't think that heaven will be quite like that; if Adam and Eve were living in paradise on Earth with perfect community with God, why then did they tend to the Garden and name all the animals instead of sing songs all day? I think Romans 12:1 puts it quite nicely: "Therefore, brothers and sister, I urge you, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God--this is your true and proper worship." You see, worship isn't just singing songs, though that is one great way to worship, as in Isaiah 12:5: "Sing to the Lord, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world."
Worship isn't meant to just be something we do when we gather on sunday mornings, or when a group of friends has a guitar, or when we play Hillsong in our car. Worship isn't an act, but rather it is a lifestyle. You don't go someplace and worship, you just worship. Everything done with a heart of thankfulness and a love for God is worship. "Whatever you do, whether in word or in deed, do it all for the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." (Colossians 3:17). So when my roommate eats a sandwich with a pound of peanut butter thanking God for providing him with that much peanut butter, it becomes worship. When I am writing this blog or working on my Android app, if I give praise where it is due for giving me the gift of being able to do it and thoroughly enjoy doing it so that I continue doing it, then it becomes worship. Whenever you see a piece of trash on the sidewalk and you throw it away to bless the worker that would otherwise have to, or when you leave an encouraging note for a stranger to see to brighten their day, it becomes worship as you thank God for being used in such a way as to bless someone you will never even meet.
So as you start of this semester, this new year, whatever is going on in your life, just start to think about new ways that you could worship the Lord in your everyday life. Maybe it will be changing your mind about classes and thanking God for the opportunity to go to school as you study. Maybe it will be you being bolder in sharing your faith with the people you walk past every day at work or in class. Maybe it will be reading a good book, even a secular book, and thinking about how its themes relate to your faith. Or maybe you will be like me and start to use your passions in a way that glorifies Jesus. It really doesn't matter what you do, but what does matter is that with everything you do, make it an act of worship, because this is what Jesus asks of us. He wants our whole lives, and everything we do in our life.