I love preaching on worship … because I love talking about the glory of God. I mean really, what better subject is there to teach on? Everything centers on the wonder of who God is and what He has done through His Son in redeeming mankind … the greatest display ever of His glory to this fallen planet. As I reflected further on this subject in my own life yesterday I remembered one of my absolute favorite quotes from one of my “hero dead guys” – George Muller, listen:
“But according to my judgment, the most important point to be attended to is this: above all things, see to it that your souls are happy in the Lord! Other things may press upon you; the Lord’s work even, may have urgent claims upon your attention. But I deliberately repeat, it is of supreme and paramount importance that you should seek above all other things to have your souls truly happy in God Himself. Day by day seek to make this the most important business of your life.”
What is being happy in the Lord other than a life of worship. Muller had it figured out and sought after this life with every breath he took. I think it looks something like this:
Not Finding Happiness in Lesser Things
Contrary to some “christian” teaching, I believe that the Gospel is about enjoying the good gifts of God on earth in anticipation of the good gifts of the new earth. Our Father isn’t about giving us stones when we ask for bread. He doesn’t shove a rock at us and tell us to make the best of it. Rather He indeed has given us “all things richly to enjoy” (1 Timothy 6:17). And it is only when we recognize them as good gifts and not little gods that we can actually enjoy them to the glory of God. When we try to suck life out of football and turkey, we ruin a good day. But when we recognize the God of all glory who redeemed us from the futile way of life we formerly walked, then (and only then) can we rightly enjoy parade-watching, warm crescent rolls, and a lazy afternoon of beating your family at cards. Why? Because we’re not trying to find happiness in those lesser things, we’re just enjoying them for what they are – little gifts from the God of glory who is the only truly satisfying Gift!
Anticipation that Fuels Contentment
I don’t live in the “holiday at the sea” that Lewis points us to, but that doesn’t mean that I should “live making mud pies in the slums” either. It’s not an either/or, but a eager anticipation over a dismal acceptance. I know that what God promises me is so much greater than anything this world as it currently is has to offer, and with such confidence I am fueled to live for so much more than mud-pie making. That doesn’t mean I’m forced to a dismal acceptance of the current situation and must coerce contentment upon myself. Nor does it mean I have to keep up a public persona of everything being “good, fine, ok” in the here and now. It actually means I can be happy in the Lord regardless of the current mud without making mud-pies my food of choice … and I can joyfully anticipate the great feast awaiting me on my holiday at the sea. That makes me happy and honest.
Everything as Worship
I think this is what Muller was getting at – When my soul is happy in God and that’s the daily business I attend to, then everything I do comes under this divine joy. I can take out the trash with joy as much as when I study the Bible. I can watch football with my sons with the same delight as I seek to help a struggling marriage in the counseling room. And when the trash stinks, my study is laborious, the game is boring, and the couple’s marriage is disintegrating, my happiness is no less real … because it’s centered on the sure foundation of Jesus, and the not the shifting sand of the stuff of life on planet earth.