As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
1 Peter 4:10-11
Everything we do we do for a reason; whether noble and godly or foolish and wicked, there is always a purpose that motivates us. In fact, two people could be doing the exact same activity with entirely different purposes in mind, and it seems intuitive then that God would judge us not simply by the works we do but also by the thoughts and intentions of our hearts. Indeed the Bible tells us that while “man looks at the outward appearance, God looks at the heart”.
This then ought to lead us to seek answer to the question, what should be the purpose and motivation for what we do? Historical Christian orthodoxy summarises the whole duty of man as such:
Q: What is the chief end of man?
A: Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.
-Westminster Shorter Catechism
Everywhere we look in all the scriptures we see the Word of God emphatically calling us to glorify God in everything we do (Isa 60:21, Rom 11:36, 1 Cor 10:31), and not only that, but also to enjoy it and be glad to do it (Ps 144:15, Phil 4:4). This then ought to be the ultimate purpose for everything we do – worship! That is, the outward expressions of praise and making known the goodness of God, combined with the inward affections of loving and delighting in Him.
When we think about all the works that a disciple of Christ is called to do, each of them has a purpose that is outside of itself. We are called to evangelise, not as an end to itself but so that souls would be saved and come to know God. We are called to study and meditate on God’s Word, not for the sake of studying itself but so that we may know its author and obey Him. In fact, pretty much every duty and ministry of a Christ follower we can think of is a means to obtaining some greater purpose.
Worship is always regarded as an end in itself, and not as a means to some other end. We don’t worship in order to achieve some other goal or obtain some higher gain, worship itself is the ultimate purpose for which we were made, and all other works ultimately find their right reason and motivation in the worship of God. It’s no surprise then that, in the final picture of eternity in the Bible, worship will be that which continues forever, as it is written:
No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him.
As worship ministers, perhaps it is often more difficult to distinguish between our ministry and our worship, because we necessarily add to worship the additional purpose of leading and inspiring others to join us in our worship. Therefore it is good for us to remind ourselves often, whether we are worshipping God in private or in front of a congregation, that bringing worship to God is our chief purpose, there are no more stops ahead, we have arrived at our destination.
St Lucia Service, HCB