Greetings Brothers and Sisters,
Recently I spoke about the worship aspect of our corporate gatherings that we typically call a worship service. It was mentioned that our worship of God is first and foremost personal. Our corporate worship is to be a continuation and sharing of what we do personally. Worship was defined as declaring God's worth and it is displayed in our embracing God's truth and living out the truth in our thoughts and actions.
Have you ever thought about the order and relationship of the words when we speak of a worship service. Is a worship service the same as a service worship? It may seem a bit strange to say it that way. If the words are put in reverse order it does change the meaning. A worship service is a service – it is a service that is characterized by worship. A service worship is worship - it is worship that is characterized by serving.
I am not splitting hairs but trying to bring to light that when we gather calling it a worship service the main thing is service of a type that is worshipful. If you asked 100 people who regularly attend church if they went to worship or to serve what would they say? What would you say? If you asked those same people to describe what they did to worship and what they did to serve, what would they say? What would you say? It seems that many people associate worship with good feelings toward God. The Bible seems to emphasize that worship consists of serving God through serving others as Jesus did. Consider Romans 12:1
Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.
The focus is on the service that is spiritual and belongs to worship. It is talking about using members of our bodies in serving others rather than serving ourselves. That, sacrificially serving others rather than serving ourselves is the definition of love. The opposite of love is selfishness. Love is serving others. Selfishness is . . . well serving self. When we are allowed to regather for worship service will we be focused on what we will get, how we will be served, or will we be eager to serve others as our worship to God?
We find a similar emphasis in the primary “attending church” text in the Bible, Hebrews 10:24-25.
and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.
As you likely know the command is “let us consider” which means to ponder and think about something. In this instance the idea is to think about others, how we might spur them on to love and good deeds. This results in encouraging one another as we continue to assemble together.
I am glad that during this time of separation that I am able to communicate through email and that we can post things on web sites and that sermons and services are available online.
However, what is desperately lacking is the individual service component. If I am at home listening, watching, singing, praying, and reading along, in what way am I serving others? Unless I make an effort to reach out and touch someone, I am only on the receiving end and to no benefit to anyone else. I may learn, I may praise God, I may be convicted and repent, I may bless and praise God, but how have I served?
The challenge we all face is that sometimes it is easy to just go to church, to attend church, and to be on the receiving end of other people's service. During this time is can be easy to be the spiritual couch potato so to speak, just being served rather than serving.
My encouragement to you is to find ways to worship God by serving others during this time and when we resume services to be very purposefully obedient to be a sacrificial servant each and every time we gather together for Worship Service.