Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Reasonable Service


Thoughts from: A Long Obedience in the Same Direction.

The section I have been reading in A Long Obedience in the Same Direction is about service. It’s looking at Psalm 123. As I read the section I’m going to comment on, I realized it could have been called worship as well. Within the thoughts on Psalm 123 it looks at Romans 12:1.

Here is Romans 12:1 from the KJV: I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

The section that grabbed my attention uses The Message for the Scripture text:

“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking around life – and place it before God as an offering.” (Rom 12:1) The Psalms emphasis on actual physical service (not a spiritual intention, not a desire to be of service) is picked up in the invitation to present our everyday, ordinary life. The motivation for service (not coerced not demanded) is picked up in the phrase “God helping you.” But most significant is the remarkable last phrase logiken latreian, “place it before God as an offering,” which another translation renders “reasonable service.” Service that is, that makes sense. The service we offer to God (in worship) is extended into specific acts that serve others. We learn a relationship – an attitude toward life, a stance – of servitude before God, and then we are available to be of use to others in acts of service.

I think these thoughts can give us a clue to what worship is all about. When we meet together at church we sing, pray, listen to Scripture and preaching. We are encouraged to live in service to God and to others – in tangible ways. That is true worship. Our whole life is caught up in God not just the time we spend at church.

Worship is an all out celebration of God that is manifested in our everyday life. When I go to church, many times I am moved in a very emotional way. I have great feelings, brought about by the words and songs I hear. Those feelings are pleasurable and I think that is good. I don’t just want to know about God I want to have a great time with Him. Now if those feelings were an end in themselves, not much would be accomplished; most of the time they lead to a better everyday life.

Worship is sometimes mysterious but I think I now have a better idea of what it can do.

Philip

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