Worship and Our Work
Two weeks ago, I defined worship for us as “our all-of-life response, empowered by the gospel of Jesus, to who God is and what he has done.” Last week, I built on that definition by talking about how we all order our lives around our idea of “the good life.” I exhorted us to consider what our daily rhythms and routines say about what it is that we most deeply desire. One of these daily rhythms is our work, whatever that might be. You could be a graphic designer, an engineer, a homemaker, or maybe a student, but most of us here are engaged in some occupation that consumes the most significant portion of your week. Therefore, the question for this morning is: what is the relationship between our work and worship?
First off, we know that our God is a creative, or creating, God. Out of nothing he created everything that is. He spoke forth light; he brushed the skies with brilliant purples and oranges when he created the first sunrise and sunset; he speckled the heavens with stars and was so delighted by them he named each one personally; he made giraffes, narwhals, and humming-birds; and he is the creative genius behind the complexities of taste-buds, and eye-balls, and the human brain! He is the Creator.
But, he is not just the Creator, he is our Creator. Out of everything that God made, he chose mankind to uniquely display who he is and what he is like by creating us in his image (Genesis 1.26-27). While much could, and should, be said about what it means to be made in the image of God, at the very least we can say that God’s intention is for us to image him. Because God loves, we areto love. Because God communicates, we are to communicate. Because God works, we work. We see this in Genesis 1:28, commonly referred to as the Cultural Mandate. God tellsAdam and Eve, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” The work God has given to mankind is to subdue chaos and bring about order and beauty – just as God subdued the primordial darkness and brought forth light and life. Humans are commissioned to exercise dominion over the earth as God’s appointed vice-regents or representatives.
Now, this doesn’t mean work is easy. Because of sin work can test our patience, our physical stamina, our mental capacities, and it can always seem to be less productive as we’d like it to be. Work is hard, but it’s also good. But how is it good? The question is about the ultimate goal of our work.
Since we were made to image God, the grand goal of our work is that people would see and savor Jesus because in our work we show the world who God is and what he is like. This is what makes work truly good!
A lot more could be said, but let me give you three points in summary:
Our work is worshipful to Jesus when we work as for him and not merely for men (Colossians 3:23). Our work is worshipful to Jesus when we seek not to be served, but to serve. This means, we go out-of-our-way to serve our co-workers, we go above-and-beyond when it comes to working towards solutions, we exercise patience when it’s needed, and we encourage and applaud the accomplishments of our peers.Our work is worshipful to Jesus when we work in such a way that images God’s own working. We are his vice-regents, and we are to show the world what he is like by cultivating the hallmarks of his Kingdom: Goodness, Beauty, and Truth – wherever we are, no matter what we do. We worship Jesus by doing good, beautiful, and honest work!
Far too often we find ourselves working mainly for the “weekend” and forgetting that the grand goal of our work is not about us, but it’s about God. This reminds us of our need to confess our sins. Please, pray with me now. . . .