What is the first thing you think of when you hear the word “worship”? Is it bowing down low? Is it singing songs? Is it mind-control? A lot of people have a lot of thoughts on worship…some correct…some are sometimes correct…some are wrong altogether. At churches across the Bible Belt, the musically-inclined people who tend to sing and play instruments on stage are often referred to as “the Worship Team” and I’ve got to admit…it kind of bugs me. (Don’t get me wrong…I’m alright at singing…I’m not amazing but for the most part can hit the right notes…I’m better at deep bluesy, throaty sounding songs than the high-pitched squealing stuff…in fact, I tend to prefer the “men’s portions” of a lot of songs…but I digress.) Then, there’s my dad. I love him…deeply…but the man can not carry a tune in a bucket. So what he lacks in ability, he makes up for in volume. He can single-handedly knock everyone around him off the right notes of a song. But what I’ve noticed, when he does sing (although not often) it is full of zeal and heart. If we define worship only as music, I think we are missing the mark. It would put entire groups of people in the category of “not being capable of worship.” My dad and others like him, or people who are mute, or people who are hurting so badly that they are relying on the Holy Spirit to translate their groanings into words (I have been in this category before…it’s hard and it sucks.) The purpose of this musing isn’t just to define worship…you can use your dictionary app for that…but to make you think about how YOU are able to do it.
While we were driving home from Colorado, Team Massey had a discussion about what our talents are. Michaela, is amazing at art. She loves it and is naturally inclined toward it. (As her parent, I also want her to be able to make money as an adult…so there is a natural part of me that wants to persuade her toward an area that would be more profitable…but, that is not my job. I am not to re-form the wondrous girl that God created. I am simply to help her recognize where he has gifted her and encourage her to use her gifts to glorify him…to grow in those gifts.) So, when we were having this conversation, I told her that she was an image-bearer of God. (That was a new concept to her…we spent a bit of time there.) Then I asked her to look around us at all the majestic mountains, at all the trees stretching up toward heaven, to think about the variety of animals…God is an artist too! An amazing artist. When she uses her art to express something, she is identifying with her artistic Creator. Anything that helps us to better understand our God is good and I think that is worship!
Of course, little Caleb then said “Aww man! I’m not good at art. I’m just good at sports.” The conversation began to turn a little bit. I reminded Caleb that he, like Stan, is naturally athletic and joyful when using his body in movement (the way I used to be about dancing.) When our bodies are functioning the way they are intended and we use them for fun or healthy purposes, I think that can be worship. You may think that is a stretch but let me put it to you this way: I have chronic pain. I have good days and bad days but I go through more advil than anyone ought to. BUT…I remember when my body used to not hurt all the time…I know what it SHOULD feel like…I remember taking for granted that I would wake up and be able to do whatever I wanted to do without worry of “over-doing it and paying for it tomorrow.” I know how it should be and the contrast of my reality with what was intended is clear to me. Because we live in a broken world, we will experience pain, illness, sin, and death in varying degrees. But, when your body is working well and you use it well…in my book, that glorifies the God who created it so well. It shows his handiwork before we messed things up.
Please don’t read here that I am saying that if you experience pain, it is due to your own sin…I’m not saying that…I’m saying that when sin entered the world, God’s beautiful creation was no longer as he made it…it was no longer Eden…the Earth and it’s inhabitants began to deteriorate which was never intended by our Lord. But don’t you think that when we see someone who is extremely passionate about something and particularly gifted in that area, that we get a little glimpse of what was ‘supposed to be’? We get a quick insight into the heart of our God? We get a flicker…a quick snap shot of a small portion of heaven? I think that is why we are all made so very differently and are wired in such diverse ways. We all can offer a slightly different perspective of what God intended for us.
That said, how are you doing with this? How has God equipped you and impassioned you? What are you doing with your gifts and passions? Are you putting it off for some huge dream tomorrow or are you doing what you can right now? (How often do we trade in obedience now for “pie-in-the-sky” plans for later…and then later never happens?)
My prayer today is that we will be obedient to God. Right now. That we would allow ourselves to hear from the Holy Spirit and not “reason away” why what we hear is silly or ridiculous. I am praying that we would worship God in the way that he has equipped us to do so because he never asks us to do something without equipping us…he never asks us to go somewhere without providing a path. (Look at me. I am NOT a writer! (I’m a scientist! I much prefer bullet points, graphs, and data.) But the Holy Spirit started telling me to write things and now I’ve been doing this for over a year. I never know what I am going to write until I sit down, make space in my morning for his inspiration, and allow him to speak. What I do have is a deep love for people…all kinds of people…so out of obedience, I am being vulnerable, sharing my innermost thoughts, some of my most embarrassing moments, and my brokenness in the hope that it will help someone…anyone…to see God. Sometimes, it causes me deep anxiety…but there is one thing in this world that I can control…I can choose to be obedient to God regardless of where it takes me or what it requires of me.)
If you don’t know where your passions are, get into a quiet head-space and ask yourself what you would do if money was no object. Ask yourself, what brings you the most joy and satisfaction. Then look around at your life and see where you can start utilizing your passions today. If you don’t know what your giftedness is, take a test! Learn about how God has equipped you! I’m including a link to one that I particularly like (free online.) We aren’t guaranteed a tomorrow…but we can worship with our obedience right now. Much love friends!