Works and Worship
Just something I was thinking about the other
day which I'm sure I've probably thort before, but it seemed like
an epiphony (lightbulb moment) to me and so I thort I'd share it
with you all.
I think I've always kind of just assumed that
worship and works were two different things and it just really hit
me this week, that the works we do (for God) ARE worship (to God)
- works and worship are the same thing.
Take a little bit of time on this and really
see if you can follow my train of thort here. I'm not saying that
the two things are interchangeable and that they are always the
same thing or exactly the same thing, but really just in some strange
way, at some point, the two things are actually not as far different
from each other as I, and possibly you, may have previously thort.
The reason I am saying this is because I had
this thort - maybe thinking about the sandwich making and distributing
a small group of us did on Christmas day which went so well actually,
and I've heard stories of other people doing similiar stuff so yay!
and if you did please let me know how it went - but that was worship!
As we drove around handing out those sandwiches to the homeless
people, by our actions we were living out worship to God.
I think the relevance of me realising this is
the awareness that the two of them go hand in hand. If we are just
doing the works, but don't have the relationship with God as the
foundation and the meaning behind it, then it doesn't actually mean
As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13:3
"If I give all I possess to the poor and
surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing."
Love has to be the driving force behind the
stuff that we're doing, otherwise it is meaningless to God. If we
are just doing 'the right stuff' to gain his recognition or reward
or nod of approval, then we're missing the point and it actually
becomes a worthless sacrifice to Him.
So works alone are not enough...
But then the other side of the toast is that
worship, as we tend to understand it, is not enough. In James 2:14-26
the contrast and comparison is made between faith and deeds but
I think it applies to this as well. If my worship of God looks all
good and right and holy- like and stuff, but there is no outpouring
of it in the way that I live my life, then I am also missing the
boat and my 'worship' is proved meaningless.
"What good is it, my brothers, if a man
claims to have faith (or worship) but no deeds? Can such faith (worship)
save Him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily
food. If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep
warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs,
what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not
accompanied by action, is dead." But someone will say, "You
have faith; I have deeds." Show me your faith without deeds,
and I will show you my faith by what I do." [vs 14-18]
The same applies to many of us. SO tight with
God. We're having good 'quiet times' and really 'connecting with
Him' and 'getting into the Word' but then doing no works or deeds.
Do you know why Paul says that the one without the other is dead?
Because if you tell me you are connecting with God and then don't
have a heart for the poor or hungry or AIDS infected or homeless,
then I say YOU AREN'T CONNECTING WITH GOD!!
It stems from some simple straightforward mathematical
equations that look something like this:
Person connecting with God = Person who shows
heart of God in their lifestyle
Person getting into the Word = Person with a
heart for the people Jesus had a heart for - 'the least of these...',
the lost, my neighbour.
Person having good quiet times = Person who
longs to serve others
Person really experiencing God during worship
time in church = Person whose heart breaks for those people who
don't know Him and get to experience the same thing.
And so on... the bottom line seems to be this
- the works that we do display the relationship we have with God
and the way that we have been positively affected by that relationship.
If after you became a Christian, there was no
discernible difference to how you were before you became a Christian,
then I call into question whether you have in fact become a Christian.
Last week I talked about the rut - this week
is taking that same concept a step further. Don't let 2005 be a
year where you err in doing only one of those two things - worship
(because you want to) or works (because you feel you have to) -
Let the two walk side by side in your life, feeding each other,
and carrying you into a more fuller and relevant and world-changing
relationship with God.
If you are spending time with God genuinely
and really connecting with Him and His heart, then you will not
be able to not get involved in works involving showing the people
of the world His love in practical and relevant ways to them.