Work and worship share more than just a casual relationship. Are we worshipping through our everyday work or study? Are we worshipping when we serve at church? Are we working as if for God Himself? Does worship actually inspire us to work? At the beginning of the last week, the thought of “work or worship” crossed my mind. I started off evaluating my attitude towards work and church ministry but came through with the revelation that the word was not “work or worship”, but rather “work and worship”. [Colossians 3:16-17 ] says,
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”
We have the word of God, and His grace dwelling within us, inspiring our song of praise to Him. So let us sing out that song!
Worship in the Workplace
Work can be so much more than work. Yes, of course there are the inevitable stressors, the workplace conflicts, the workload itself and expectations involved. Yet, work can be worship and so it should be. We have so much we can thank God for, so many opportunities to see His work, appreciate Him and also serve others in His name when we are in the workplace! We have excellent examples of people who worshipped God through work in the Bible:
JOSEPH – who worked such that his master could see that the Lord was with him [Genesis 39:3]
DANIEL – whose work provided opportunities for him to tell kings about the glory of God [Daniel 2:47]
DAVID – whose kingship and life reflected a man after God’s own heart [Acts 13:22]
RUTH – whose work in the fields yielded a testimony of love and restoration [1 Samuel 4:14-15]
PAUL – who worked alongside other tentmakers even as he preached the gospel [Acts 18:3-4]
If we work for the sake of working, and work simply to survive, work becomes boring, tasteless and frustrating. What a waste of the majority of the wonderful life God has given us if we cannot find His hope and glory in work!
When we work with the song of grace in our hearts, and the word of God within us, our perspective of work changes. We can work with an unquenchable joy and peace, even as we navigate challenges. We are thankful always towards God – for the opportunity to work, for the opportunities to see the things He has created, the opportunity to witness the incredible creativity and emotion of the human mind. We can lean on God and pray, ask Him for opportunities to be His light and to share His good news with all those around us. With the expectation of what God can do in our workplaces and what He can show us, work transforms into another glorious landscape to explore with God.
Worship through Service
What is our attitude towards service in church? On one hand, we can treat it with less respect that our weekday jobs, and on the other hand, it can be so much about the work involved that we forget the reason we are serving. Service towards others is not just a ministry, it is worship, obedience and a demonstration of our love towards Jesus. [Galatians 5:13-14] says,
“For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.'”
Furthermore, our service should not be a chore, but something we determine to do joyfully towards the Lord and in accordance with the gifts He has given us.
[Romans 12:6-8] – “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them; if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.”
Finally, to serve one another is to demonstrate love for one another; and, when we love one another, we demonstrate our love for God.
[1 John 4:7] – “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.”
Let’s not forget the real reason for our service towards others and in the church. Christ first loved us, so let us share that love with others. Christ served us, so let us joyfully serve others.
Worship inspiring Excellence
Worship inspires us to work for excellence. When we love God and praise Him, when we do all things in His name, then we feel compelled to do things to the best of our ability. We want to give our all to God, to faithfully steward all that He has given us. It is the kind of spirit that causes us to shine out His light.
[Matthew 5:16] – “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Besides, work is also evidence of faith, and faith is pleasing in God’s eyes [James 2:14]. Again, the emphasis is not the work itself that we do, but the purpose behind it. We can work for human applause, or for our own pride, but we can also work as unto the Lord, “doing the will of God from the heart.” [Ephesians 6:6]
One last thought about work and worship. [Proverbs 16:3] says,
“Commit your works to the Lord, and your thoughts will be established.”
We worship through our work, study and service when we submit them to God and let Him direct us in them. He establishes our thoughts in His way and our success is seen in His eyes. He shows us His plans and we demonstrate our love to Him through obedience in His leading. So, in everything we do, let Jesus be glorified. In everything we do, let His word lead. In everything we do, let us remember His grace. In everything we do, let us worship our God!