When my wife and I were about to get married in the Philippines in 1979, a very sweet Filipino young lady approached my wife and asked her, “What is your motive for this wedding?” This of course gave my wife pause, because she was curious as to why this young lady was so interested in her motives for getting married! She then realized that because English is only the trade language of the Philippines and not the mother tongue that the girl meant, “What is your Motif or Theme for the wedding?” We still laugh about that to this day.
But when it comes to the mission of God in the world today, the importance of understanding God’s Biblical Motif for His mission is no laughing matter. I personally agree with missiologist John Piper who says that God’s supremacy and glory is scripture’s organizing theme of God’s mission. He then says that worship is the primary lens for this activity of God. So, with that in mind, one could say that God’s mission is everything God is doing in the world to show forth his glory and supremacy.
Let’s turn once again to Jesus’ words to the woman at the well as he said to her:
21 “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4: 21-24)
What Jesus is saying to this Samaritan woman is not that Salvation is some Jewish thing, but that this message of worshiping God was the message the Jews were commissioned to broadcast since their calling as the people of God. Worship is not about a place or even the songs we sing in a worship service. Worship is about glorifying God as an indicator to the world that God is active in the world.
Our worship is the lens the world has to see whether or not God is alive! Does this work? You bet it does. The woman at the well went into town worshiping by saying, “Come meet a man who told me everything I have ever done!” What was she doing? She was glorifying God and showing Him supreme and the lens she used was worship.
Do our lives of worship give the world this kind of lens to see how great God is? I am closing today’s devotional with a quote from John Piper in this regard, followed by an exhortation. See if it rings true to you.
“Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn’t. Worship is ultimate, not missions, because God is ultimate, not man. When this age is over, and the countless millions of the redeemed fall on their faces before the throne of God, missions will be no more. It is a temporary necessity. But worship abides forever.” (Piper 1993, 11)
Let’s worship God today, in all we say and do.