Brother Lawrence lived during the 1600’s (400 years ago) and served in a Catholic Carmelite monastery in Paris. To him, common activities of life, no matter how ordinary or routine, could become an expression of worship to God. He certainly seems to have a revolutionary understanding of God's presence and his sayings were recorded after his death in the book, "The Practice of the Presence of God," which is considered a classic of Christian devotion.
Consider this insight. "We can do little things for God; I turn the cake that is frying on the pan for love of Him, and that done, if there is nothing else to call me, I prostrate myself in worship before Him, who has given me grace to work; afterwards I rise happier than a king. It is enough for me to pick up but a straw from the ground for the love of God."
His most famous statement is this: "The time of business does not with me differ from the time of prayer; and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen, while several persons are at the same time calling for different things, I possess God in as great tranquility as if I were upon my knees at the blessed sacrament." He certainly understood that worship to God was just as meaningful and valuable in the Kitchen as it was in the Sanctuary.
When we think of worship we usually think of an exciting Sunday morning church service complete with thrilling songs, inspiring preaching of the Word, and stirring prayer. While that certainly qualifies, worship is much more. Worship is All of life. We are called, not just to worship, but to Be worshipers.
Colossians 3:16-17 gives us these instructions. Verse 16 says, "Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts." That is a good list of worship activities, isn't it? But Paul goes on in verse 17, "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."
Ordinary activities, when done in the name of the Lord, become an Offering of Worship. Let that transform your life and living. You can worship the Lord while singing a praise song. But you can also worship Him when you, like Brother Lawrence, are working in the kitchen. You can worship Him while driving in the car, at the job, doing school work or chores at home. Anything you do, when offered up to Jesus, becomes an expression of worship!
To me, the ultimate definition of worship is found in Matthew 5:16. "...let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." In other words, let Everything you do bring praise and glory to Jesus. Let everything you do draw attention to Him and lift Him up!
A Life of Worship is more than just singing a song or offering a prayer. It is giving God glory with All of your life, in Everything you do. Let your Life bring glory and praise to Jesus, the King of Kings and lord of Lords!
How thrilling it is when someone at work or school says to you: "You’re different! I don’t know what it is about you, but there is something that is different than everyone else here!" That is the Holy Spirit working in your life. It is also your life of worship spilling over to others. People are being drawn to Jesus because of how you live your life.
Let me suggest what a Life of Worship will include.
Everything in your life needs to be Surrendered or in Alignment to Jesus. Why is that important? Because if your Life is out of Alignment, it does not matter how much you Sing and Pray on Sunday or any other day. But when your life is in Alignment, You can be a powerful expression of worship.
Jesus declared (John 14:21): "Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves Me. He who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I too will love him and show Myself to him." In other words, if we are not Obeying Jesus, how can we say we are a Worshiping people?
In Genesis 22, we find the first mention of the word Worship. Abraham was commanded by God to offer his son Isaac on the altar of sacrifice. It seems an impossible situation. God has promised that Abraham will be the father of a great nation that will bless the world but now He is demanding that his miracle son be sacrificed. But Abraham had great faith in God. He says to his servants (v5), "We (Abraham and Isaac) will worship and then we will come back to you." Wow!
One of the things Abraham understands is this: Worship equals Obedience. And Obedience equals Worship. Thankfully God provides the animal for the sacrifice and Abraham and Isaac return as promised.
But have you ever thought about how Abraham worshiped After the obedience? He untied his son and wrapped his arms around him. Then they both knelt at the Altar (The place of Obedience, Surrender) and they Worshiped the Lord! Can you imagine the tears of thanksgiving, joy, adoration, and praise? Isaac no doubt declared: “God, You provided the Ram. You took my place. You provided my Substitute!” (Thank the Lord for Jesus our Substitute!) Abraham, with face and faith lifted, cried: "I Praise You, Lord! I will do Anything You ask me! I know You are Worthy of All! There is Blessing in Obedience.
Giving is certainly an expressino of worship. When we talk about Giving from a Christian perspective, we usually talk about the three Ts: Time, Talent and Treasure.
Give God your Time. Like Mary (Luke 10:38-42), be willing to sit at the feet of Jesus.
Give God your Talent. He has given you abilities. Use them for His glory and His kingdom.
Give God your Treasure. Mary anointed Jesus with costly perfume that was worth a year's wages (John 12:1-8). That is pretty Extravagant! We looked at her in the first study in this series.
But let's think about another woman who also gave a precious offering. It is the unnamed woman in Mark 12:41-44. Jesus is watching the crowds as they give their offering at the temple. His disciples are with Him and they are in awe as they watch rich people giving large amounts of money. They have never seen so much money in their lives! One turns to another and says, "Did you see how much that person gave?" Someone else says, "This one gave even more!"
Jesus now points out to them the woman's offering. At first, the disciples must be thinking it is going to be a very large amount. But then they see the amount of her offering and must have thought: "Big deal!" The disciples are followers of an itinerant rabbi so they do not have much money, but they probably have put in more money than this poor woman themselves and they aren't impressed.
But Jesus commends the woman because He knows the rest of the story. It's not just about what she gave but what she had left. The rich gave much (God bless them!) but they had much left over. She gave little but she had Nothing left over!
I want you to picture as she gives her offering. It is only two coins, worth less than one penny. It's not much, yet it's all she has. And she comes with tears of adoration and praise to the Lord. The Gospel writer Mark is specific: The rich threw in large amounts, but she put in her offering with love and devotion.
This is the last in this series on Extravagant Worship. Let me close with a quote from Judson Cornwall (pastor and author): "Worship helps us find who we are and why God has placed us here on the earth. When we bow in God’s presence with worship, only then are we made complete."
#7 in the series, "Extravagant Worship."