First Mennonite Church
October 16, 2016
Worship in Daily Life
Text: 1Corinthinas 10:23-11:1
Today, I want to conclude the series on worship. As we have been reminded, worship is an act we direct towards something or someone. In the context of our faith worship is directed towards God. The Bible is not only abundantly clear why we owe God worship, but also how worshipping God satisfies and restores the right relationship between us and God. The Bible also describes the human heart as self-centered. The heirs of Adam’s fall are by nature focused on self, not knowing or being incapable of realizing that in their Creator abides their true joy, satisfaction, and fullness of life.
For many centuries it was believed that the earth is the center of the universe. That belief was shaken in 1543 when the German mathematician and astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus published his book On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres. Copernicus concluded that the sun is the center of the universe and it is the earth that spins around it. Then a little over 50 years later, the Italian astronomer, mathematician, and engineer Galileo Galilei championed the idea that the sun is the center of the universe. Such a claim was a contradiction to the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church. In February 1616, an Inquisitorial Commission declared Galileo’s conclusions to be “foolish and absurd in philosophy, and formally heretical since they explicitly contradict in many places the sense of Holy Scripture.” Galileo was found “vehemently suspect of heresy” and was sentenced to formal imprisonment, but then his sentence was reduced to house arrest for the rest of his life.
It is too bad! We are not at the center of the universe. Yet, we live in a society where the “I,” “me,” and “mine” mentality not only revives our idea of being at the center of the universe, but takes it to the extreme. We need not to look too far away. The “selfie” is the quintessential proof of this extreme.
At the beginning of this series on worship, I said that worshipping God aligns our life’s vision, priorities, and value system. Before God regenerated our heart the only focus of our motivations, dreams, and energies was to enhance and satisfy the “I,” “me,” and “mine.” Yet, since we experienced the dawning of the light of Christ, we learned the truth the Apostle Paul speaks of when he writes:
And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again (2Corinthians 5:15).
Yes, Christians are called to live for him who died and was raised for them. Yet, although Christ’s light has shone in our heart and his redemptive power has redirected our life, we still face a subtle yet real dilemma: we still continue to share in the natural world as every one of our neighbors and friends does. We have to work, take care of our children, pay our bills, celebrate birthdays, plant and tend a garden, etc.
Participating in and taking care of this natural part of life often times becomes the greatest hindrance to experiencing internal peace. We spend our day engaged in something that provides for our needs, that is our jobs. At night we might wake up wondering how to carry out a certain task waiting for us the following day. We are firm believers we should be diligent to our commitments, which on occasions keep us awake and even restless at times.
In our effort to take care of our families we make plans for the things we anticipate but cannot help but, hope for the best about things we cannot foresee. And when it comes to our individual life we also try our best at taking care of ourselves. But when we feel pain, even if we do not want to think much about it, we suddenly find ourselves worrying what kind of illness or disease we might have.
All of these and more teach us that life can be complicated and unpredictable and these are the reasons why it is hard to have internal peace. Yet, what adds to our crisis of internal peace is when we believe that taking care of life’s troubles and necessities is incompatible with our spiritual life. When we begin to believe that life is divided into two departments, the secular and spiritual, we also begin to feel as if we have to move back and forth from these two worlds. This leads us to live a divided inner life instead of a unified life. Our sense of lack of internal peace becomes worse. It is here where the words of Paul are not only the corrective to this false view of a secular life vs. a spiritual life, but also the source of true peace and a unified life.
When the apostle Paul was addressing issues of food and conscience in First Corinthians, chapter 10, he gave them this simple yet profound advice:
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
Eating and drinking are very basic acts every living creature has to do. Sometimes, little creatures beat us at eating first! The other morning Jasmine and I were driving to school. I asked her if she ate a good breakfast. She told me she did. But she also told me that upon cutting a fruit and almost being done preparing it for her snack, she saw something moving in it. Yes, even the littlest of creatures have to eat and drink. And Paul says we should glorify God even in these most mundane acts. We should glorify God in these things and in everything we do—whatever you do, do it for the glory of God! God should be glorified in everything we do. So how do we start doing that?
First, think of something you do, or you did. Now ask the question, why did I do it? Why do you sprinkle you lawn, for instance? Is it to show off to your friends and neighbors that you are good at taking care of your beautiful house? Or is it because you are embarrassed that your neighbors have their lawn green and you cannot allow yours to go brown? There are all sorts of motivations behind the things we do. In some cases they might not be to glorify God, you see? There are people who do things out of guilt. People give alms to the needy. Some are motivated by gratitude and some, possibly by guilt. Some people do good works in hopes that God would find them worthy of spiritual rewards. Some do good works in order to receive praise from others. And some would, for instance, work tirelessly believing that if they do not take care of themselves, nobody will and not even God.
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. These words of Paul have meaning at another level as well. All aspects of human life are sacred. We Christians should live our lives as a continuous ritual of praises to God. Life is a sacrament, a holy moment, using the Catholic language. Paul calls Christians to live their lives as if in every act they are performing a ritual and sacrifice to God.
The way Jesus lived his life is a good example of a life lived to the glory of God. In John, chapter 2, verse 29, Jesus says that God was pleased in everything he did. From the manger to the cross, there was not a moment in which Jesus’ life was not pleasing to his father. Jesus did not live a divided life of the spiritual and the secular. And his intentions in everything he did were to please his Father and to serve others. He did not come to be served but to serve and give his life for others.
Taking Jesus as our example of living life as a sacrament, a holy ordinance, means to live our lives realizing that every breath is a gift of God. It means that our jobs are more than means to earn a living. Performing our job is a service to someone or a company which hired us and to the clients it serves. Living life as a continual moment of praise to God means that our being retired is a gift from God to us. Now, after many years of faithful commitment to a job, we have time to be free to serve him in some way we could not before. Living life for the glory of God begins by our concentrating our entire lives to his glory. The result of this personal consecration is that every act, as simple as it can be will be offered to God as a holy act.
Begin each day by offering to God your moments of conversation with family and friends. Offer to God the work of your hands. Above all, begin your day by offering yourself completely to the glory of God.
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galileo Galilei (Thursday, October 13, 2016).