Worship is sacrifice
If nothing else, the COVID-19 pandemic should teach us a little about sacrifice. In this new age of masks, physical distancing and limited travel, we have had to give up a lot to stay healthy. COVID demands a sacrifice, but this is not a new concept.
In the Old Testament period, God desired the sacrifice of animals as an offering to keep his people holy before Him. In the New Testament, the Lord is still looking for an offering, but now He desires living sacrifices. Now, our lives are the offering, and we make the sacrifice to give God a life that is placed at His disposal to do what He wants. It is a life that’s dead to self but alive to God’s desires. This is true worship; it costs something.
Once we accept Jesus as Lord, our lives are no longer about us, but all about Him. It’s a sacrifice because sometimes you will not feel like worshipping. But one of the problems with living sacrifices is that we tend to crawl off the altar when things get too hot. We’re usually glad to give God our hearts if all is well in life. However, God welcomes a sacrifice of praise because He desires it and He’s worthy at all times and in all circumstances.
Bible Commentary author William Barclay said it this way: “True worship is the offering to God of one’s body and all that one does every day with it ... Real worship is the offering of everyday life to Him. Take your body; take all the tasks that you have to do every day; take the ordinary work of the shop, the factory (the office, the home); and offer that all as an act of worship to God.”
The way we speak to our spouse, children, and boss is a part of worship. How we operate at school and attend to our studies, or the diligence we bring to our jobs is also worship. How we spend our money, time and talent is worship as well. ALL that we do is worship when we belong to God.
So, when we bring an offering to God:
a. IT MUST BE HOLY
This means separated and devoted solely to the purposes of God. In the Old Testament, when someone prepared to make a sacrifice, they would search their flock and choose a spotless animal, one without defect. They would set it apart from all the other animals for this purpose; feed it, grow it and then sacrifice it. This took dedication and attention.
For true worship, our lives must be set apart and we must consciously dedicate ourselves to it. “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:16-17 (NIV).
b. IT MUST BE PLEASING
It’s clear that worship is always about pleasing God and not ourselves. For example, if we’re provoked to anger, our response should not be to explode like a volcanic vent, destroying everyone in our path until we feel better, but to please God.
This may seem like a lot to ask, but Romans 12:1 (NIV) tells us that “… this is your true and proper worship.” The original language uses the term from which we get our word ‘logical’. It is saying, “If you weigh all that God has mercifully done in proportion to who you were as a sinful hopeless enemy of His, the only reasonable, logical response is to lay your life down for Him.” So … will you?