Probably a decade ago now, when I was an associate pastor for youth in my first call, I got into an argument with a seminary student about which was more important: worship & bible study or mission. Being in my first job out of seminary myself and concerned with towing the party line at the time, you can guess which side I was taking in this debate.
I was hauling the mainline. Holding up the tradition. Keeping the program fires burning.
And I was 100% wrong.
While people do worship him, Jesus never actually asks for it, nor commands it. Though he does pull our focus to worshipping God on occasion, Christ spends his entire ministry showing us that true worship looks like proclaiming good news to the poor. Proclaiming release to prisoners. Giving recovery of sight to the blind. Setting the oppressed free. Proclaiming the year of the Lord’s favor to all.
And he tells us repeatedly that he requires mercy not self-righteous sacrifice. That tangible love is center of everything. And that when we feed, slake thirst, clothe, welcome, visit, and care for the last and the least – then we are doing the work of the Living Word of God. Now that’s a bible study.
Jesus shows and tells us that the life of a believer is spent far beyond any four, six or even eight walls of wood or stone. It’s an every day thing. A life truly following God is lived looking for ways to serve and build up the kingdom in the world and only comes back to rest on Sundays so that we can get ready to go again.
As we grow in our relationship with Christ, our desire to see this same show & tell in our own life will grow, too. Then we will look for every opportunity we can find to see God’s kingdom come to life in our midst.
Oh, and there was one person who suggested, fall down and worship me in the gospels. But it wasn’t Jesus – it was Satan.