Whole Life Worship
Everyone has tasks they would rather not do. It might be the washing up, the school run, filling your tax return or dealing with a very difficult customer. For a season of my life, I was going to Swedish lessons, and if I am honest I had a pretty bad attitude towards them! Like many Brits I don’t see myself as a natural at foreign languages. I wanted to be able to converse with my extended Swedish family, but the reality of the lessons and the homework was just a drudgery to me.
And then it hit me – what if I saw that work as worship? Not simply fulfilling a duty or ticking a box, but an opportunity to glorify God? I could share his character to my fellow students and my teachers. I could do my best, however tough I found it, for the praise and pleasure of God.
Paul encourages the Colossians to sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs to God. We might be used to thinking of those kinds of things as “worship”. But he immediately goes on to say: “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Col 3:17). Everything we do – yes our songs and prayers, but also our actions and attitudes – can be done in God’s power and for God’s glory.
Sunday worship is a time to be reminded of God’s plans for the world, to bring our struggles to him and to be empowered for his service. But our “worship” does not stop there – God sends us out “to live and work for his praise and glory”. Some churches have taken the sign which usually greets people coming into the church and turned it around, placing it inside the doorway. This means as you leave the building you are reminded: “You are now entering a place of worship”. What difference would that perspective make to your everyday life?
I am still not fluent at Swedish (although I do know my smörgåsbord from my köttbullar!), but seeing all of life as worship transformed my outlook on those lessons. I am reminded that in the light of all Jesus has done for me I can offer my whole self (even my weaknesses, failures and frustrations) as a living sacrifice. That is my true and proper worship.
Sam Hargreaves runs engageworship with his wife Sara. Their new book Whole Life Worship is published by IVP in collaboration with LICC. Whole Life Worship training Saturdays are taking place in Balham (23rd Sept) and High Wycombe (18th Nov). Visit engageworship.org/WholeLifeWorship for more details.