Worship is Work is Worship

(This post is the edited manuscript from a sermon I preached on April 5, 2022 at Richfield United Methodist Church.)

Stephen Curtis Chapman has a song called “Do Everything” and it goes a little like this:

This, my friends, is worship.

Yes, we gather on Sunday mornings and Wednesday afternoons and Maundy Thursdays and Good Fridays. We gather and read scripture and sing songs and pray the prayer that Jesus taught us to pray. And yes, all that can be worship.

Notice I said can be. I hate to be the one to bring bad news, but I’ll let you in on a little secret… sometimes what we do “at church” isn’t really worship.

You see, worship isn’t about what we do. Worship isn’t about the boxes we check as good Christians, as good pastors, as good servants of Jesus Christ. Worship isn’t about how many times we went to church or read our Bible. Worship isn’t about what we did or did not put in the offering plate.

Worship has nothing to do with what we actually do.

So, whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, you should do it all for God’s glory. Don’t offend either Jews or Greeks, or God’s church. This is the same thing that I do. I please everyone in everything I do. I don’t look out for my own advantage, but I look out for many people so that they can be saved.

1 Corinthians 10:31-33

Worship has everything to do with our attitude.

This is what Paul is trying to explain as he writes to the church at Corinth. They were arguing and complaining about what people were doing and the “right” way to be a Christian and “do” church. Paul reminds them, at the beginning of chapter 10, about the story of Moses and the grumbling Isrealites. Then he tells them to run away from worship of false gods (which was rampant in Corinth at the time).

And then Paul gets to the heart of it – what is permissible isn’t always what is holy. What we CAN do is not the same as what is WISE to do.

What is holy? What is wise? Build each other up (v. 23). Look out for each other (v. 24). Participate with gratitude (v. 30). Do it for God’s glory (v. 31). Look out for the advantage of others over yourself (v. 33).

This, my friends, is worship.

Worship is the attitude we bring to all that we do. Worship is about HOW we go about our day, not what we do in the day. The seemingly drudgery of the every day tasks before us can be worship. Think for a moment about the stuff you do during the day that is boring, or that you dread. For me, I hate matching socks and folding bulletins. And cleaning toilets. And record keeping for year-end statistics. They all seem like such a waste of my gifts and talents and absolutely no one thanks me for doing these tasks and as a words of affirmation kinda gal, being thanked and praised is a big deal for me. (I’m working on that.) But those tasks, socks and bulletins and toilets and record keeping… I tend to have a grumpy attitude when I work on them.

But Dietrich Bonhoeffer explains it this way:

Work pulges men into the world of things. The Christian steps out of the world of brotherly encounter into the world of impersonal things, the “it”; and this new encounter frees him for objectivity; for the “it”-world is only an instrument in the hand of God for the purification of Christians from all self-centeredness and self-seeking. The work of the world can be done only where a person forgets himself, where he loses himself in a cause, in reality, the task, the “it.” In work the Christian learns to allow himself to be limited by the task, and thus for him the work becomes a remedy against the indolence and sloth of the flesh. The passions of the flesh die in the world of things. But this can happen only where the Christian breaks through the “it” to the “Thou,” which is God, who bids him work and makes that work a means of liberation from himself.

The work does not cease to be work; on the contrary, the hardness and rigor of labor is really sought only by the one who knows what it does for him.”

Life Together, pg. 70

My friends, the spiritual discipline of worship is not just about showing up to church on Sunday or Wednesday or whatever day you “go to church”! Worship is about having an attitude of worship through our everyday lives in different ways. Worship is about picking up the toys, doing the paperwork, cooking the food, finishing the homework, answering the phone calls, and serving others with an attitude that is glorifying to God, that is grateful and honoring. Worship is about building others up, looking out for the advantage of others. Worship is about carrying Jesus with you, allowing Christ to shine through you, providing an opportunity for others to see Christ in you. Worship IS our work.

While I may not know you, I bet I know you
Wonder sometimes, does it matter at all?
Well let me remind you, it all matters just as long

As you do everything you do to the glory of the One who made you
‘Cause He made you to do
Every little thing that you do to bring a smile to His face
Tell the story of grace with every move that you make
And everything you do

chorus from “Do Everything” by Steven Curtis Chapman

Published by Kris

Jesus follower, racing wife, mom of seven, United Methodist pastor... Trying to live a life worthy of my callings.

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