Only when God’s power fills us can we minister in a way that brings about true spiritual change. We must stay connected to the source, the spring and fountain of life. As soon as we are cut off from the source of water, we run dry.
How do we keep from running dry?
Our heart stays filled with God when we stay connected to him through worship. Unlike other activities, worship fills our soul with joy in God. This joy spills over to others in ministry.
Why does worship matter?
1. Without worship, your ministry is worthless.
Worship matters because it is possible to serve in a way that doesn’t please God!
It’s easy to become like the Pharisees who “honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:8, 9). Even if we serve with great zeal and energy, we may not be pleasing to God.
Outward actions only honor God when they come from a worshipful heart. The state of your heart is essential because actions flow from your heart. “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life” (Proverbs 4:23).
One person can preach from a humble heart and that action be clearly displayed as worship. Another person can preach the same message from a proud heart that loves to be “seen by men”; this is not worship. The action does not determine if something is worship. The heart does. The heart either purifies or defiles an action.
God is not simply looking at your actions, he is looking for actions that flow from a heart of worship.
“For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him” (2 Chronicles 16:9).
It is vital to know if you are serving the Lord in a way that pleases Him.
Everything stands or falls on worship. Without worship as the foundation and center of your life, your service will fail. Service starts with worship.
Worship matters because without it you will be serving in vain.
2. Without worship, God is not honored.
Serving merely out of duty and not joyful worship does not make God look great or satisfying.
If we are workers first and worshipers second, then we treat God as deficient and ourselves as sufficient.
The goal of service and ministry is to show the glory and greatness of God, not to help God out as if he needs us.
God does not need our help. We are the ones who need his help and he has given us everything we have.
“The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything” (Acts 17:24, 25).
If we treat God as needy, it makes God look small because we appear to be helping God. The goal in service is to glorify God. If we serve God as if he is needy, we do not glorify Him! Instead, we make ourselves look big and powerful while making God look small and helpless.
Because of this, God wants worshipers who work, not workers who worship. There is a vast difference between the two.
God wants worshipers who set him as first place in their hearts and lives, and then he uses them to proclaim his greatness before others. If we are not worshipers first and have not first exalted him to the highest place in our hearts, we will be poor examples of exalting him before others.
Lives that are changed by worship will honor God more than lives that simply seek to do something for God.
We cannot proclaim well publicly what we do not proclaim well privately. We cannot glorify him in our actions if our heart does not worship Him.
The world needs to see that God is worthy of our worship, not just worthy of our work.
3. Without worship, our message loses its impact.
Worship is before work. Stillness is before service. I am a worshiper first and a worker second. My personal worship validates the message. Worship sets the worker ablaze so he or she may burn with passion for God and the world.
To delight in his glory we must sit at the Savior’s feet. We need firsthand knowledge of the glory of God. Having tasted and seen it for ourselves, we can then share our personal delight with others. “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!” (Psalm 34:8)
How can we declare, “Come, behold the works of the Lord” (Psalm 46:8) if we have not beheld them ourselves?
How can we say, “delight yourself in the Lord” (Psalm 37:4) if we do not delight ourselves in the Lord?
We need to be affected by God so we can give personal testimony to the goodness, greatness, and grace of God. For God to receive glory, others must see glad-hearted worshipers.
Our actions are important in serving God, but our tendency is to neglect the more important things. We neglect worship. We become like Martha and focus on service.
If your heart is unaffected by the Most High God, how can you expect your listeners to be affected?
4. Without worship, you dry up.
Missionaries, pastors, and others in ministry are usually very hard workers. But it’s also easy in ministry to begin slowly depending on our strength. Eventually, this leads to burnout because we are carrying burdens we’re not meant to carry. Maybe we never reach the point of burnout, but if we focus on problems and trials our souls become weary. We become like Peter, who took his eyes off the Lord and began to focus on the waves. When this happens we begin to sink.
Like an empty streambed, we must replenish our soul daily through worship and rely on God for strength.
In ministry, you need strength to face the trials that inevitably will come. These trials are like the sun that evaporates the water from the stream. The more intense the trial, the faster your strength evaporates. Not only do you need strength to endure, you also need to have something to share with others.
You cannot minister from an empty cup! You minister from the overflow of your life.
Are you prioritizing worship today?
If you want an overflowing life and ministry, make worship your first priority!
Editor’s Note: Want to dive deeper? This article contains excerpts from Kyle’s book, Overflowing: Ministry and Missions That Flow From the Heart.