Worship in Service
Worship in Service
My grandmother had gone to a woman’s house and witnessed to her about Jesus. The woman shouted at Grandma, “Don’t you ever come back to my house! I never want to hear about Jesus again!”
When my grandmother told me about it, I said, “That woman was very rude to you, Grandma. But you have done your part in witnessing and there is nothing more that you need to do.”
“I already did more,” she replied. “I baked an apple pie and took it to her.”
I learned an important lesson from those words. Often I had seen my grandmother worship the Lord in prayer, her hands lifted as she sang, “We’ll give all the glory to Jesus, and tell of His wonderful love.” But that day I realized how she did more than witness or worship in words and song. She worshiped the Lord in her actions. If we say that we love Jesus, our deeds must also show that love.
“When do you not work for the Lord?” a young man asked. “Surely you have some free days once in a while.” The man thought Christianity is something you do, but being a believer is not an eight-hour-a-day job; it is a new life. Our service to God is as much a part of our lives as breathing is to being alive. We do not serve Him with part of our talents or time, or only when we feel like it, but always, with all our heart, mind, and body. Total service is being able to say, “Here I am, Lord. Use me anytime, anywhere, and under any circumstance.” Romans 12:1 says we offer true worship when we are dedicated to His service.
The greatest example of commitment is Jesus Christ himself. He ate, slept, exercised, and rested like any of us. But His heart and mind were constantly ready to do the work of His Father (John 15:10). He was always serving others. He helped people spiritually; taught them; prayed and even wept for them; and cared for their physical needs. Never did He turn away the sick or afflicted.
One day He raised the dead son of a poor widow from Nain who had no one else to provide for her. He even prepared fish over the fire for the weary and hungry disciples who had worked hard at fishing the whole night through. He served the lonely and rejected folk just by being with them. He accepted dinner invitations to be with people who were unloved by their community. He befriended sinners. Jesus, the Son of God, served His own creation, humankind.
Should we do less? No, we must make it our goal to be like Jesus. Perhaps the Lord has not given you the ministry of service through teaching or preaching, but you do have the ability to be a compassionate, loving Christian. People need to know that someone cares, and your caring may help another person realize that God cares.
Worship through service means offering ourselves by giving of our time and our abilities. We can say a kind word, give a friendly smile, or visit the sick or lonely. The Lord wants us to be willing to share with others who are in want. Whether we are rich or poor, we must be ready to share as the Lord leads.
The Bible commands us to “be witnesses” (Acts 1:8)—not to do witnessing, but to be. Use the following prayer to help you communicate this desire to God.
Dear Father, my desire is to worship You, not only in words but in everything. Before I react to any situation or make any decision, I pray that Your precious Holy Spirit will tell me what would be pleasing to You. Then, Lord, help me to carry out your directions. Let your love shine through me in such a way that others will want to be like Jesus.
Attitudes in Service
When the prophet Samuel wanted to anoint a handsome young man as king of Israel, the Lord stopped him with these words: “‘The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart’” (1 Samuel 16:7).
Our outward appearance includes our actions as well as our physical features. Sometimes our actions are not what we mean them to be. We may be given a job to do and it does not turn out as well as we had hoped. But we can find comfort in knowing that God sees our hearts and knows what we really wanted to do for Him.
He also sees if we try to do Christian acts without having true interest in what we are doing. The finest actions do not count as worship if our attitudes are not right. The Bible gives helpful guidelines for proper thoughts and motives, some of which we will look at now.
We will talk first about serving the Lord cheerfully, and not just because we think we ought to. Our giving and sharing can be happy experiences. The Bible says that it is more blessed to give than to receive. Giving in the name of the Lord is the Christian’s privilege. Paul teaches,
Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. (2 Corinthians 9:7–8)
We see that God gives abundantly. The Bible says that He gives generously for our enjoyment (1 Timothy 6:17). As we give cheerfully, it becomes easier for us to also give generously. Romans 12:8 tells us that whoever shares with others should do it generously. We do not give just enough to ease a troubled conscience, but we give as the Lord would have us to give.
Imagine you received some extra money, and the Lord impressed you to give part of it to a small mission. This you did gladly and generously. Later you heard some of its members rejoicing in how God had provided for their needs, but your name was not mentioned. It sounded as if the money had dropped out of the sky instead of from your hand. How would you feel?
Probably the natural reaction would be to feel resentful. We like to receive credit for what we have done. And while wanting to be appreciated is not bad, Jesus taught of a greater reward. Matthew 6 records, “‘When you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you’” (Matthew 6:3–4).
The Lord was speaking here of humility, of giving that is free from pride and from the desire of people’s praise. Giving as unto the Lord is rewarding and rewarded. Jesus promised, “‘Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Luke 6:38).
Some of our reward may come here on earth. But our greatest reward will be given to us when we stand before the Lord on the day He thanks us for all we have done for Him. Matthew 25:34–40 gives us a glimpse of that day:
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”
Isn’t that a beautiful passage of Scripture? Even if you do something for someone who is ungrateful, it does not matter.
The Lord who sees everything remembers and counts your kindness as being done for Him. In view of our eternal rewards, giving cheerfully, generously, and humbly comes easier. The Lord gives the grace and strength we need.