So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31 (ESV)
I have been thinking about this verse a LOT lately. I’ve caught myself several times in the trap of trying to serve my husband without thinking about God or doing something at church because that’s just what Christians do or just plain outright living for myself. It’s made me start to think a bit more intentionally about one question: How can I make this about worshipping God not me?
Whether we realize it or not, every action we take, every thought running through our heads, every moment of our lives is an act of worship. We have two options: Worship the Creator or worship the creation. It’s really that simple. Everything was created except for God, so whether my action is an act of blatant selfishness or outright rebellion and worship of an object or negligent oversight, if it isn’t worshipping God, it’s worshipping creation.
I know. We all like to think in much less black and white terms than that. We want to make ourselves feel better, so we sugar coat things. We talk about mistakes and errors in judgement because they sound less like what they are: sin. (And no, getting the answer wrong on your 8th grade math test wasn’t sinful, it was a genuine mistake, but we don’t like to honestly differentiate between that and sin.)
Like I said, I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. As I sweep the floor: Am I worshipping God as I do this? Tossing and turning trying to find a comfortable position for sleep: Can I glorify God even in this?
The verse says “whatever you do.” There aren’t qualifiers. Well, if you feel like it, it would be nice if you would glorify God. No! In all things. And while the context makes his reason for choosing eating and drinking make particular sense, the ordinariness of these tasks makes it clear he doesn’t mean all big things. So can sweeping the floor and even tossing and turning be ways I can glorify God? Yes. Absolutely.
It’s easy to get mad about having to sweep the floor again. Didn’t I JUST do this? Really? Again? No one notices anyway. Easy thoughts to let roam around in my brain. But not worshipful thoughts. Instead, I can look at this mundane chore and go, “God, thanks for this floor in this wonderful home you have given us. Thank you for the broom and the strength to use it. Thank you for food to eat which gets crumbs on the floor.” It may sound absolutely ridiculous, yet in the simple act of sweeping the floor, there is so much that I touch and see to be thankful for. I truly believe that this can be a moment of worship if I simply acknowledge the God who made the moment possible rather than grouching about having to do it or even just treating it with indifference. My grouching says someone should be serving me; I am entitled and I have rights. Indifference says the same thing in a slightly different way. It takes for granted that OF COURSE I have a floor to sweep and crumbs to sweep up. Duh.
What about tossing and turning? It’s another one to get pretty upset about easily. I just want to be comfortable. But the truth is, it could be a lot worse. I could not have a comfortable bed. I could not have covers. I could not have air conditioning, a fan, a place to live. I have much to rejoice in, and besides all that, those sleepless moments are great moments to pray, to meditate on Scripture, to set my mind on the things of God and not of this world. Honestly, when I am being intentional, those moments have been some of the best times of renewing my mind.
I’m not sharing this to shame anyone or guilt them. No one does this perfectly, and it’s hard when our minds are flooded all the time by new input. Radio, TV, social media, cell phones, just to name a few in the tech realm. Then there are parents who have little ones constantly needing them. People who have significant mental and/or physical pain. But a pretty constant theme in Paul’s letters is that we are in a spiritual battle and our minds are on the line. We can’t just ignore this issue and hope everything will turn out all right. How many Christian leaders have turned their back on faith because they weren’t on guard?
I was reading something recently about how Christian’s lives are not radically different from unbeliever’s lives. It was a self-report survey, not a perception of others survey. I don’t remember all of the details of where I was reading this, so I won’t try to cite the source. I was more convicted by the statistics than I was paying attention to who was talking about them. Anyway, my point is that it hurt to read that.
Our lives should be radically different! We have been saved by grace and there is no longer any chance or being condemned (Rom. 8:1, amongst many others). It’s not that we have to live by a rules based system and only if we follow them well enough will we be saved. That doesn’t transform people because it has no power to transform, only to condemn. But we are NOT condemned. We are free! And the absolute joy of that should be so overwhelming that we are dramatically altered by it. So often we aren’t because even though we know we were saved by grace through faith, we expect that we have to return to a rules based system in order to live life. We look at the commands of Scripture and think: “Well, I know I can’t do that, so I’m not even going to try.”
We live in a failure driven mindset because we are relying on ourselves. And that reliance upon self is worship of the creation. It doesn’t seem that way, right? It seems rather the opposite of worshipping ourselves because it says I’m just too bad to be able to live that way. Certainly that’s not worshipping myself?!
It is. Because it’s entirely self-focused. I can’t do it. Me.
But the power to do those things doesn’t come from us. It comes from the Holy Spirit. And that brings us back around to what I was saying about taking those moments of ordinary, every day tasks and turning them into moments of worship. I’ve realized more and more lately that my way of doing things is to rely on myself and or my husband until our strength fails and then I go to God. It saps my energy, drains my joy, and all around makes me grouchy. If I fix my mind on praising and thanking God as I go about those exact same tasks, they don’t make me grouchy. I may be tired when I am done, but I can finish the task and still have joy.
A right focus doesn’t make life a breeze, take away pain, or give us everything we ever hoped for. It isn’t a magic cure-all. But life’s difficulties can still be moments of joy when we focus on worshipping God, when we are doing all to HIS glory and not even thinking about our own.