Ever since I started seeking God in my life, I’ve known without any doubt (except for one little rough patch at the beginning of college) that I wanted to pursue a career in worship ministry. I grew up in a musically-inclined family, with a father who taught music at the college level. I started off young, picking up my first instrument at the age of four and gradually developing as a musician. But before my faith in Christ, it was always just about me – I performed for my own praise, recognition, and purpose. Between performances I was miserable; the praise I got for my music only lasted until each concert was over and then I went back to feeling empty and wanting more. I was young enough at the time to not develop a complete dependence on that short term “high” of praise, and for that I am thankful, but it still was an exhausting habit that affected me each day.
But when I entered into a relationship with Jesus Christ, that pattern changed. I began to understand what praise really is: not something that we do out of obligation, but rather something that we do out of a desire for happiness. After all, worship is not just a job that we are given – it is a purpose that we have been designed for. And what we find when we devote ourselves to this purpose is that praise actually brings us true and infinite joy. C.S. Lewis explains this in his Reflections on the Psalms:
I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation. It is not out of compliment that lovers keep on telling one another how beautiful they are; the delight is incomplete till it is expressed.¹
John Piper also studies this in his book on Christian Hedonism, Desiring God:
So if God loves us enough to make our joy full, He must not only give us Himself; He must also win from us the praise of our hearts – not because He needs to shore up some weakness in Himself or compensate for some deficiency, but because He loves us and seeks the fullness of our joy that can be found only in knowing and praising Him, the most magnificent of all Beings.²
Do you see what these two authors are trying to explain? Worship is not a selfish act that God commands us to do out of a desire for his own praise. Commanding our worship is actually the most selfless act that God could participate in. He knows that we will only consummate our true happiness by praising him, and so he creates us for the purpose of doing so.
Now, I am not writing this with the intention of saying that my musical worship is in some way superior to other forms of praise. And I’m also not writing this to say that musical worship is the only way to praise the Savior. I think I have a specific calling to worship ministry, and that’s the reason I’ve chosen to pursue it. The true reason that I’m writing this is to encourage you, in whatever calling you may have, to praise the Lord. As it says in Ecclesiastes 2:24, “There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoymentin his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God” (ESV). Your calling is from the hand of God; find enjoyment in it! My acts of worship on stage are no more sacred than another man’s janitorial work or a woman’s middle school teaching. And with that in mind, it’s crucial for all of us to point to Christ in our respective jobs or duties. Praise extends beyond the four songs you sing on Sunday morning, praise extends beyond your Wednesday night Bible study or your Sunday night youth group meeting. Praise must extend to every act you commit, every word you speak, every step you take. After all, God ordains each of these for his own glory. And with that in mind, there is not a more important purpose in our lives than to worship him.
Have any insight on this post? Let me know in the comment section below.
¹ Lewis, Reflections on the Psalms, 93-5.
² Piper, Desiring God, 49.