Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care.Psalm 95:5-6
My mother considered all of her thoughts, deeds, actions, and attitudes as a form of worship. Whether it involved guiding her children for twenty-four years from a wheelchair due to multiple sclerosis, meeting with a neighbor friend to study Scripture, or giving her undivided attention to numerous unwed mothers she mentored in our home, she worshipped God in every aspect of her life. I’ve often thought but never shared with anyone out loud, “If you really heard yourself complain, you would embarrass yourself because you really don’t have much to complain about.” Why would I only think this versus sharing this out loud? Frankly, I think this in my mind periodically because we all have idols in our lives. It is a daily temptation to separate ‘this or that’ from its place under God’s dominion. In my mother’s situation, she could have kept ‘idols’ such as:
• An evening walk with her spouse around the block
• Water skiing around a resort lake
• Fishing in a mountain stream
• Shopping at the local mall
• Attending a concert
• Working 8-12 hours a day
• Planting a garden
• Going to coffee with a good friend
Not that these are wrong, but my mom just couldn’t do anything remotely like the above because of her physical disability. I’ve often thought her life was richer because she lived so simply. She didn’t bow down to very much on this earth because she didn’t have access to very much. Somehow, though, she did live Christianly in her daily life choices. She worshipped by considering others more important than herself. She gave her undivided attention away every day. Although she couldn’t kneel, she would bow often in her heart to pray for others. She saw herself as a caretaker and shepherd of others.
Now that my wife has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis too, I’ve been reflecting on what I worship. Now that I’m in my second lifetime experience of having a family member stricken with this disease, I’ve re-evaluated my priorities. I’ve become more cautious about kneeling down to seek praise from others, looking for happiness through ‘things’ or believing that joy is found in earthly pleasures.
A friend of mine recently wrote a few books on achieving one’s full potential in service and worship to God. These books list some suggestions about how to achieve this potential, including reading more and developing new friendships so you can be challenged to develop into your full potential. Many distractions in life prevent us from feeding our minds and guarding our hearts. As you evaluate your tendencies of worship, what would you be willing to give over to God because he is sovereign?
Prayer: God, forgive us when we have a blurry focus and displaced priorities. It is so easy in your kingdom to think that some items are okay to worship and some items aren’t worth worshipping. In reality, everything we do is a form of worship. Call us to honor you in all we do. Amen.
Thank you Eric for sharing these very important thoughts with us! It made me focus on the blessings and opportunities that God gives me that I take for granted. The influence and prayers of your mother are apparent in the service that you give to Dordt College and this community. May God continue to bless you and your wife, Kim, and your family.
Thanks, very much, Eric. I thank God that I am part of a community that values people simply because they are truly God’s gift to us and, even if we do not always recognize it, a wonderful blessing to us, rather than on the basis of fame, success, wealth, athleticism or some other “idol.” Your thoughts remind me that there is strong cultural pressure for us to abandon this kind of “serviceable insight,” which we must continue to resist with all the strength God gives us.