In my journey to discover what worship is, really, I’ve often pondered what the purpose of worship is. What is our goal when we worship God?
Theologian and musician, Marva Dawn, has written a book entitled “A Royal Waste of Time.” Her introduction begins . . . .
“To worship the Lord is — in the world’s eyes — a waste of time. It is, indeed, a royal waste of time, but a waste nonetheless. By engaging in it, we don’t accomplish anything useful in our society’s terms.
Worship ought not to be construed in a utilitarian way. Its purpose is not to gain numbers nor for our churches to be seen as successful.”
What makes worship different from other activities, even things we do in a church service? To find what makes worship different is to find the meaning of worship!
Consider this statement:
“Worship has no other primary purpose other than engaging fully, completely and exclusively with God.”
What I mean by that is worship has no other purpose besides relating to God. It may have side benefits or fruit, such as drawing unsaved to God, or changing the atmosphere in a room, or preparing our hearts for the sermon, but we don’t worship to achieve those things. Dawn’s introduction concludes with this . . .
“Worship is idolatry unless it is a total waste of time in earthly terms, a total immersion in the eternity of God’s infinite splendor for the sole purpose of honoring God…” (emphasis mine)
In other words, if we worship God for the purpose of getting people saved, it’s not true worship. If we worship God as a weapon of spiritual warfare, then it’s not true worship. Of course, we can sing evangelistic songs, or spiritual warfare or intercession songs, but these songs aren’t worship in the biblical sense. There’s more to singing songs than just worship. We have to be careful to distinguish between singing and worship.