What is worship? The definition of worship in the Christian culture is in the process of being redefined. The prevailing definition of worship in the Western Christian culture is the description for the Sunday morning corporate gathering of a local church family. In the past decades, some have tried to further limit the definition of worship to be the songs and prayers offered to God during the Sunday gathering, and excluding from the definition the sermon, as it is focused on teaching. More recently, however, the definition of worship is moving away from worship being limited to the Sunday gatherings and moving toward worship being a lifestyle of devotion and honor to God.It was in a Purpose Driven Church Conference at Saddleback, listening to Rick Warren tell what God had recently taught him about Worship, that I first heard the definition of worship which made perfect sense to me, and the one which I have adopted for myself. Rick explained that during his writing of Purpose Driven Life, God revealed to him a new understanding of worship. He said that he had come to understand that we worship God anytime we are fulfilling the purposes for which God has created us. This simple definition of worship helps us see God’s purpose for our worship.
Purpose of worship God already had the heavenly host of angels who could sing praises to Him. Why would he create us just to add voices to His praise? When He created us, He did so with a purpose. He gave us an opportunity to be adopted into His family. When we are called into His family, God gives us talents to use and purposes to fulfill. When we use these talents and fulfill these purposes, we are carrying out the purposes for which God created us. These acts surely bring him pleasure… honor… worship.
Jesus Describing Worship? When responding to questions about His return to earth and the end of the age, Jesus, in Matthew, chapters 24-25, embarked on a series of stories. First, He told the story of the ten virgins, urging us to be watchful and use our resources to honor Him. Next, He told the story of the master going on a journey and giving five talents to one servant, two talents to another, and one talent to a third, to tell us that the master wants us to use what we have for His benefit. He ends with the story of the separation of the sheep and the goats, praising and inviting in those sheep who used what they had to feed the poor, to give drink to the thirsty, to show kindness to strangers, to clothe those in need, and to care for those who are sick and imprisoned. In each story, Jesus praised those who took the resources and opportunities they had been given and used them for the good of the bridegroom, for the good of the returning master, and for the good of those who were in need. These acts translate into doing good for Jesus. When we use the resources and opportunities we have been given to fulfill the purposes for which we were created, Jesus, our redeemer and savior, receives praise and honor and worship. He can respond to us with these words: “Well done good and faithful servants…. Come and share your master’s happiness.” So, worship is all that we do to fulfill the purposes for which God created us, whether it involves a gathering of a church family on Sunday mornings, or whether it involves an individual using their gifts and talents as a faithful wife, a caring father, an honorable employer, or one who shares what he has with those in need. Later, Dale