1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:1 – 2)
Theme: If not You, then Who?
Since we have a bona fide Old Testament scholar in our group (Dr. Anthony Oliver), I feel emboldened to make a point about the Hebrew words for worship in the Old Testament. If I get something wrong, Dr. Oliver can correct me 😊. I hope you have been benefiting from his insightful comments along with the insightful comments of others.
The Hebrew word that’s often translated as worship in the Old Testament is shachah (pronounced shah-KHAH), which literally means to bow down before. However, there is another word for worship in the Old Testament, avodah (pronounced ah-vo-DAH). Interestingly, avodah also means work and service.
In the view of some Biblical scholars, the multiple meanings of “avodah” emphasize the fact that we can worship God through our work/service. Years ago, I developed a reminder to help me maintain perspective at work – “let your work be your worship but do not worship your work”. It was a reminder to me that ultimately God is my boss and also a caution not to become a workaholic. I believe this concept is consistent with the popular passage above from Romans 12 where we are urged by the Apostle Paul to worship God with all we have.
- How do you assess success in worshiping God through your work/service?
- While God’s opinion is ultimately what matters, are there any helpful cues that you get from those you interact with (Christians or non-Christians) that your work/service reflects worship of God?