Home > Healthy Church Network blog > What is worship? – Part 6

What is worship? – Part 6

Ah, the Western world…land of productivity. If it can be done, it will and with ever-increasing efficiency. That’s the unspoken mantra of American life. Some of us can remember the broken promise of technology–that faster machines would leave us with more time for leisure and ease. Instead, advancing capabilities only led to higher expectations, stretching life and everyone living it to unhealthy limits.

Somewhere buried in the ashes left by our high-speed advancement lies a biblical command to rest. Remember that one? Yeah, that one of ten commands we seldom preach about and practice even less. There’s simply no time for rest according to our day-planners. We fill days off and vacations (when we take them) with as much activity as possible. We don’t rest, and it may be because we don’t know how.

Yet, rest was a significant part of worship among those who lived Bible lives. Ceasing from everything except ceasing was the regular pattern of the ancients. Now some might insist that if we lived in their world we could practice such ideals, carrying forward the assumption that if they lived in our world, they’d not look so peaceful either.

But rest achieves numerous purposes. First, we find that we need the refueling that only rest can bring. Our non-stop onslaught of each day seems destined to prove that we’re more than human. I shake my head every time I hear someone brag about how they only need four hours of sleep a night. But their super-humanness isn’t real, just misguided. Someone has wisely said that we should consider what God intends when He turns out the lights each evening.

But rest also offers the chance to reflect, to look back, to evaluate, to be thankful. Little wonder that such things are rare in our lives. Who has time for yesterday when today and tomorrow confront us? So we learn fewer lessons, enjoy fewer relationships, and race from one moment to the next with little or no gratitude for the great moments of the journey. How much wiser would we be if we took some time each week to consider what the previous week wanted to teach us?

And, of course, rest demonstrates dependence. When I rest, I remind myself that I am not my own source–that someone Else is at the controls. Many people don’t rest because they’re afraid to. They can’t stop because they’re convinced that no one will pick up their slack. Like tithing, rest means I have less time or money to use for my purposes. Giving a tenth or a day to prove that I am trusting God looks careless or lazy to those who don’t know Him.

Of the five worship priorities we’re discussing that are demonstrated in Scripture, this one may be the most challenging. How will you encourage your congregation to commit to rest. What place does solitude have in their lives? Where is gratitude and the time necessary to express it? How much more fully might we know God if we spent a day each week focused on that relationship?

Self-sufficiency is a fundamental enemy of worship. When we rely fully on ourselves and our own ability to provide for our needs, what role would worship really have for us? We must rest…and those who lead us in worship must show us more than the frenetic pace of heart-pounding worship choruses. For if we cannot learn to rest, where will peace come from?

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