WHAT IS YOUR LIFE?
T PIERCE BROWN
Most of us who are familiar with the Bible would immediately answer from James 4:14, “It is even a vapor that appeareth for a litle while and then vanisheth away.” However, at this time I am thinking of another aspect of the question. We may view life as an unrelated series of separate acts, or we may view life as a whole. If we view life as an unrelated separate acts, we may try to separate our political or business life from our religious life. We may think of “worship” as something we do only in a church building on Sunday (and for those who think in those terms, it will usually be only on Sunday morning, and sometimes only on Sunday mornings, and sometimes only on special occasions) and the rest of life is “secular.”
Those who thus think do not understand or appreciate what Jesus, James or Paul said about life. When Paul spoke of “presenting our bodies a living sacrifice” (Rom. 12: 1) he was not speaking of small, unrelated acts. He was talking about life as a whole. When we speak of a prayerful life, we do not mean that every individual act is an act of prayer. When we speak of a sacrificial life, we do not mean that every single act is thought of as a sacrifice. When we speak of a life of thankfulness, we do not mean that each separate act is designed to express our thanks for something. We simply mean what Paul meant when he said, “In everything give thanks” (1 Thes.5:18). When we say that our life should be a worshipful life, we do mean to imply that every individual act is designed to pay homage to God (which is what we usually mean when we speak of worship to God). If we only understood the “essence” of worship or the “essence” of life, we would not try to separate our lives into little compartments, thinking, “This belongs to God. That belongs to me.”
The failure to understand that properly may have led some to “fuss” about signs we see in some foyers, “Enter to worship; leave to serve.” I have no real objection to such a sign, except that it may imply to some that all worship is done inside the auditorium (called “the sanctuary” by some), and all service is done outside. It would be as appropriate to have a sign saying, “Enter to serve; leave to worship” if we understood that some service to God and man may be done inside the building and some worship of God and service for God and man can and should be done outside of the building.
Of course our lives are a series of separate acts, but they are not “separate, unrelated acts.” They should all be related to God as we do all for His glory (1 Cor.10:31). Of course not every little act is designed for the specific purpose of paying homage to God (as worship is normally defined), but every act should be thought of a pearl in a united string of pearls that are designed to adorn, instead of each act being a pearl in an unrelated, scattered bunch of pearls that fell on the floor accidentally. Or if this figure suits you better: “lively stones” (2 Pet. 2:5) built into a spiritual house, rather than a bunch of rocks, blasted out of a quarry and merely piled up on a shapeless heap somewhere. Is your life designed so that it gives glory to God and is holy (and wholly) acceptable to Him, or is broken into little segments, some of which you decide to give to him? What is your life?
T. Pierce Brown
1068 Mitchell Ave.