The preacher said, “Everything we do is worship!” Then the preacher invited “his” congregation to turn in their Bibles to Revelation 19:10. The section reads as follows:
Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God. For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” (ESV)
. . . and I wondered how much time he thought we should be spending in obeisance. Are we really to be falling down and doing homage at all times?
It is not that everything we do is worship. No, worship is defined more specifically than that. Indirectly, some other activities might be said to become worship, sort of, but worship is worship, and other things are not worship. It’s really about that simple.
It’s the same thing with praise, too. Maybe you have heard a prayer that goes something like this:
LordWeThankYouForLettingUsGatherHereToSingTheseWonderfulSongsOf PraiseToYourName (when the songs had actually consisted of “In the Sweet By and By,” “I’m in the Gloryland Way,” “Be with Me, Lord,” and “Abide with Me”).
It either is, or it ain’t. It should be relatively clear whether a song’s words are those of praise or worship to God. Praise is praise, and worship is worship. Other things are other things.
Worship is the chief end of man. By “end,” I mean both the present end-goal and the final, continuing activity of God’s people, as indicated in the Apocalypse (Revelation). And the glorification of God in and through our lives is a worthy ideal, but not everything in this life is worship.
Sometimes I think I’m the only one who notices that preachers have a vested interest in much of what they do. If everything a church is understood as worship, and preachers are involved in everything a church does, then preachers’ roles are effectively aggrandized, and preachers themselves benefit. Because of this vested interest, preachers’ words ought to be weighed carefully.