Let us pray: Dear Savior, as we go about the business of life, etch in our minds and hearts the uplifting truth that everything we do is about worshiping and honoring You! Armed with that knowledge, every moment of every day will be uplifting and gratifying. Amen
GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM CHRIST, OUR LORD AND SAVIOR!
TEXT: Romans 12: 1-8
Dearly Beloved By Christ:
What were you doing on Thursday afternoon? I was engaged in a task I’ve wanted to finish for about the past 4 years. Four years ago I bought the needed products to complete the job. It needed to be done since the last time I undertook this task was about 11 years previous. But, then the weather didn’t cooperate, my mother had her stroke and died, the tree damage consumed last year, and well, other needed tasks got in the way. However, last Thursday everything came together! So, I spent the afternoon worshipping our Lord, doing exactly what our text says: “present your bodies as a living sacrifice” to Him! Yes, I spent the day painting the back outside wall of the church!
You may not think that painting is akin to worshiping God. Yes, I’ll grant you that it doesn’t fit the usual definition of what we imagine worship to be. Yes, it did not include Scripture readings, infusions of the Holy Spirit, gaining the forgiveness of my sins, or singing hymns (although I hummed a few bars). This aspect of Christian worship—God serving us—wasn’t present. However, I honored God by living out a sacrifice of self to His glory. And I have the aches and pains to prove it!
Every one of you also worshiped God last Thursday afternoon, whether you thought about it, or not. In fact, you and I do so every single day at every single moment.—Unless we’re engaged in sinful behavior. Going to work and doing your job is an act of worship. “Whatever you do, do it for the glory of God!” as the Bible says. Providing for your children, up-keeping the house, carting a sick friend to the doctor, pumping gas to insure a smoothly running week, preparing a meal—everything is ultimately an act of worship. After all, again the Bible says: “In Him (Christ) we live and move and have our very being.”
Christians too often divorce worship from daily life and thereby divorce God and the joy over serving Him from their daily schedule. It’s all attitudinal. And to correct any faulty attitude on our part, St. Paul reminds us today of exactly how all-encompassing worship of God really is. “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
So, God sees everything you do. He’s with you every moment. Are you honored by His companionship? You should be. Do you want to ignore His presence or grieve Him by conscious sin? I hope not. Instead, by striving to do His will, or obeying His commandments, you want to make Him smile. You want to be on your best behavior. And when you do exactly that, you’re presenting your body to Him as a living sacrifice, or you’re worshiping Him.
To be sure, this is easier said than done. Again, it’s attitudinal on our part. So, Paul goes on to give us the “how” of it. “For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them.”
Twice in that section, Paul mentions: grace. Grace is pure love. It is forgiveness, love, and God’s sacrifice on the cross to save our souls all rolled into one. And that One is Jesus Christ. He bought and paid for you with His blood. He died for you. He ransomed your body and your soul from eternal destruction. He lovingly hands out His grace to you and makes it your very own by giving you the gift of faith—just as He did this morning when little Gwenivere was baptized. Like her, you have received the sign or the cross both on your forehead and your heart to mark you as His redeemed child. This was your entrance into becoming a “living sacrifice” to the Lord.
So, were you worshiping God on Thursday afternoon, Friday morning, and every other day this week? If you were engaged in living for His glory, benefitting your fellow man, and not actively breaking any commandment in the process, the answer is: YES! All of us did is a little differently than each other. But the effect was the same.
On Wednesday afternoon I taught my first confirmation class of the season to my biggest class ever—8 children! I had a blast. And as always, I taught them about life wrapped around God’s truths. I’m teaching them how to think and analyze. How to see God behind everything we do from the simple to the sublime. I’m teaching them to be “living sacrifices.” The reasons for this are many, but one stands out: the personal gratification of life when it comes to understanding that worship is a 24-7 lifestyle. If whatever you do or however you think gives glory to God, than you don’t have to be bored or listless or angry or sad. Whatever situation life finds you in takes on new meaning filled with importance.
Paul addresses that, too, in our lesson: “Having those gifts let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.”
Is Sunday more “holy” than any other day of the week? Is Sunday worship more holy than giving yourself to God each day as a living sacrifice? Yes, Sundays are distinctive. Yes, they give us Godly ammunition to fight off Satan for the rest of the week. Yes, they feed our souls with heavenly manna. But the joy over receiving from God and giving Him thanks for His blessings isn’t confined to Sunday. It continues on all week long! Now that you know that, GO AND ENJOY YOUR TIME OF GRACE! Amen