What is the highest form of worship? Is it listening to my favorite "worship" song? Is it attending a Hillsong concert? Is it lifting my hands? Is it jumping, dancing, and so on?
Martin Luther would give an emphatic "No" to all of the above. According to Luther, the highest form of worship is to trust God. In his book, The Freedom of the Christian, published in 1520, Luther wrote, "The very highest worship of God is this that we ascribe to Him truthfulness, righteousness and whatever else should be ascribed to one who is trusted. On the other hand, what greater rebellion against God, what greater wickedness, what greater contempt of God is there than not believing His promise? For what is this but to make God a liar or to doubt that He is truthful—that is, to ascribe truthfulness to one's self but lying and vanity to God."
Indeed, our English word "worship" comes from the old Saxon word weorthscipe meaning "worth-ship," and it referred to any activity utilized to recognize or describe the "worth" of a person or thing to which homage was being paid.
Luther's point was that we ascribe "worth" to God by putting our complete trust in Him in every situation of life. We ascribe worth to God when we trust Him, even when we don't understand. We ascribe worth to God—we worship—when we trust Him, even in the midst of heartbreak and tragedy.
Such worship from a heart of trust may be expressed while going about one's daily tasks. In fact, even hoeing one's garden can be an act of worship, as is illustrated by the following story from the life of Francis of Assisi.
Francis was hoeing his garden one hot afternoon when a friend passing by stopped and posed a question. "Francis," he asked, "What would you do if you knew that at sunset you would be standing in the presence of Jesus Christ?"
Francis replied, "I would finish hoeing my garden." Francis' answer revealed how that, for him, every act was a sacred act done for the glory of God. Even hoeing his garden was an act of worship, for it was done from a yielded heart that was trusting explicitly in the Lord.
We should realize that there could be greater worship in a quiet, traditional service as people are listening to God's word, than in a worship concert with lights, smoke, sound and much emotional energy.
The point is we that should never exalt a particular outward expression of "worship" over another, but focus, instead, on the condition of the heart. As God said to Israel in Isaiah 66:2, "But to this man I will look, even to him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembles at My word." Trusting God is the highest form of worship!
Learn more about Martin Luther and how he discovered truth, trusted God and changed the world. Find it all in Dr. Eddie Hyatt's latest book, The Charismatic Luther, available from Amazon and his website at www.eddiehyatt.com.
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