As modern American Christians, we seem to know that we ought to worship. Whether we’re new to the church or we grew up in it, we’re pretty aware that “worshipping” is part of the Christian life. We figure that’s mostly accomplished through singing and praying at church. But since we’re at church a comparatively small amount of time throughout the week, we may wonder if our worship is supposed to go beyond that. How do we worship outside of church, though? What does that entail?
Before asking what worship in daily life looks like, we should consider what worship actually is. The Bible is full of examples of the worship of God, and not just of humans worshipping God, but also angels, animals, plants, and even mountains and stars. Everything that has been created is capable of worshipping its creator. The broad scope of creation returns a broad scope of worship to God. Creation worships God best when it is being what it was made to be; creation worships God by being what is was made to be. Worship is linked with “created purpose.” As humans, our specific purpose was to wisely rule over creation, to tend the garden and to “fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion … over every living thing that moves on the earth” (Gen 1:28).
We see man beginning to fulfill that role by naming the animals. Man named things that God had created. This wasn’t just a way to tell things apart, but the recognition and indeed thanksgiving that this and that creature had been created with a special value and a special function within the world. Nature worships God by being exactly what He made it to be, glorifying Him in its created splendor. We recognize the value of what God has made and add the word “because” to nature’s worship, declaring that God is worthy not just for his intrinsic holiness, but also for what he has done. We see this image in Revelation 4, where the creatures praise God with their song, and then mankind declares that God is worthy to receive this praise, for He created and sustains all things.
Just our awareness of this vocation is a good first step toward beginning to live it. In a sense, it’s natural. We assign value to things every day. We “tend our gardens” if not literally, then metaphorically through organizing our houses, cooking meals, writing songs and poetry. We name our vehicles, our pets, and of course, our children. But we are a fallen race, imperfect and impure. Only through our identity in Jesus Christ, the perfect human, can we glorify God through any of these things. The wonderful weekly gathering for corporate worship can never be replaced by any effort at detached, solo worship. But likewise, having gathered to worship on Sunday, let’s not fail to offer up our every work as a praise and thanksgiving to God for His work of creation. Try being intentional – look for things to praise God for, look for ways to be a “wise steward.” As we grow in our awareness of vocation and our awareness of the worthiness of God, we will live to return thanks and praise to the Creator. Our whole lives will become worship.