Almost every aspect of our society has been affected by the COVID-19 virus. You can see the effects of this virus in the workplace, in homes, and in churches.
It almost feels like this virus has hit the “reset” button on many facets of life. The normal life that most of us lived in January and February of 2020 may never be the same again… and this may be a good thing for areas of our lives that were out of control before this virus went global.
This virus has virtually eliminated large gatherings of people across the world. Therefore, in the United States, church services and college football games are seeing major changes this fall.
This virus has affected the workplace in that many people are now trying to work from home. It has also affected our shopping habits, as we transition to ordering online and picking up at the curbside for most of our favorite retailers.
This virus has caused us to rethink where we spend our time and energy, and this is where our worship is most clearly seen. The way people in the United States worship has been reshaped.
That’s right; I just used the word “worship” to describe both college football on Saturday and a church service on Sunday.
In the rest of this brief article, let’s refine the definition of the word worship, because I’m afraid that somehow this word has been improperly defined over the years. It’s time for us to recover what this word really means.
Simply stated, the word worship points to whatever has first place in your heart. Based on this definition, you can see how people worship college football on Saturday, as well as worship in church on Sunday.
In some respects, the COVID-19 virus has become a magnifying glass to show us clearly what we really worship.
Even atheists worship
We’re all worshippers. Every human being on earth worships regularly! Because worship describes what has first place in your heart, everyone worships something. If you’re not sure what you worship, just look at what gets most of your time, energy, money, and attention. This is the thing that you worship.
Based on this definition of worship, even atheists are worshippers. The question, then, is not if we worship but what we worship. Many people worship something that can’t possible satisfy them. This is what I call worthless worship. Here’s a very short article that describes Worthless Worship.
Worship at work vs. worshipping work
If the word worship refers to the thing that has first place in our heart, then we must stop treating the word like it only refers to singing songs in church on Sunday. This is way too shallow of a definition for this word. That can be a form of worship, but it is just one small aspect of what the word refers to.
Because worship refers to what has first place in our heart, we can also easily see that many people worship work. The amount of time, energy, and attention that they give to their job makes it first place in their life.
Everything else comes in a distant second.
Don’t get your feelings hurt; I am not criticizing hard work or long hours. I’m all for giving your best effort at work. I am suggesting, however, that maybe we should look at our hearts and determine if we’re trying to get soul-level satisfaction from our jobs.
If you found your heart longing for the big promotion at work because you believed it would give you satisfaction on the inside, here’s an article I think you need to read about worship at work.
When the bucket doesn’t hold water
This is the point at which we realize that some things that we worship just don’t satisfy us. If the only reason you give your best effort to work is for a bigger paycheck and more prestige, you’re giving your efforts for the wrong reasons. That bucket doesn’t hold water, and it will let you down.
In the Bible book of Nehemiah, Nehemiah has to challenge people about the way they worship. Chapter 12 serves as an X-ray for our soul to show us exactly what it looks like when our hearts worship the wrong things. Here is the link to a recent sermon about it.
Our hearts were made to worship, and you can see how quickly our hearts start worshipping the wrong things. Nehemiah had to deal with hearts that didn’t worship correctly many centuries ago. We still have to deal with this same problem today.
If you’ll be honest, the challenges of COVID-19 can help you see what your heart really worships. If you’ve found that you’ve been worshipping the wrong things lately, use this time to “reset” your heart toward worshipping King Jesus.
He can change your heart. He is the only one worthy of your worship. He is the only one that can satisfy you eternally. He is the only one that will be with you no matter what this crazy, mixed up world brings your way.
If you’re desperate for King Jesus to change your heart, you can ask this of him in a simple prayer. Pray something like this:
Dear God, I recognize that I need your help in my life. I admit that I have been worshipping the wrong things. I recognize worshipping anything other than you is called sin. I believe that you love me so much that you did not leave me in my sin. You sent your son Jesus to pay the penalty for my sin and to offer me the gift of forgiveness. Today I turn from my sin and trust only in the Lord Jesus Christ as my Savior. I believe that his death paid the price for my sin and his resurrection provides me the promise of eternal life. From this moment forward, I trust you with my life. Amen.
If you just made that prayer from a sincere heart, I would like to know about it. Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.