And the King will answer them, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.” Matthew 25:40 (ESV)
Often in our quest to define certain types of worship we will use terms such as Mosaic Worship, Davidic Worship, Lifestyle Worship, Evangelistic Worship, Messianic Worship and others. We often associate worship with music, singing, dancing, shouting, banners and preaching. Certainly these terms and expressions of worship are valid as we attempt to put into words our response to the God we love. However, there may be yet another aspect of worship that is easily overlooked.
During my open-heart surgery in June of 2008 to replace my aortic valve and subsequent stay in the hospital, the number of people who showered my family and I with acts of kindness was overwhelming. Beginning with the hospital staff as well as other family members and friends, we were made to feel loved and genuinely cared for. Many people called to let us know they were praying. Others made visits to the hospital. Some sat with my family during the six-hour operation. Still others brought food to my house to feed my wife and kids while others gave us money for various expenses.
I am convinced that the acts of kindness shown our family were in deed acts of worship toward Christ. Christ is the head of the church and we as Christians are his body. So, any act, for good or ill, that we perform toward members of Christ’s body is rendered unto Christ. Worship is attesting to the “worth-ship” of Christ. As we minister to members of Christ’s body we express the value we place on Christ himself. That is why the apostle Paul was so stern in his rebuke of the Corinthians for the way they were conducting the Lord’s supper.
The purpose of the Lord’s supper is for the church to remember the body of Christ that was broken for them and the blood of the new covenant that was shed for them. In doing so we proclaim the Lord’s death until he returns. However, the Corinthian church had made a mockery of the celebration in that, not only had they despised the Lord himself, they had also despised the less fortunate among them and in doing so had not properly discerned the Lord’s body (1 Corinthians 11:20-30).
The apostle James goes as far as to attach acts of kindness to the proof of our faith (James 2:15-17). The writer of Hebrews tells us that without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). We must conclude, therefore, that if we do not please God we cannot truly worship him. However, God is pleased, and may I add worshiped, when we confirm our faith through acts of kindness toward members of his body.
The apostle John conveys the message that eternal life is dependant on our loving the brethren (1 John 3:14-15). We prove that we love God and the brethren each time we lay down our lives with a pure heart, so that we can meet the needs of the brethren. Acts of love toward the brethren equals acts of love toward God. Acts of love toward God equals acts of worship.
How do you treat the body of Christ? Do you treat others the way you would Jesus?
Scriptures for meditation: