Tim Smith, a Worship Pastor at Mars Hill Church in Seattle, gave an excellent definition of worship in a sermon that I listened to this week. He defined worship as "our response to God's initiation."
I love that this definition is both simple and profound. I also love that this definition rightly identifies God as the initiator in worship. I can tell you-and those who know me know this to be true-that I don't seek to worship God on my own. Left to my own desires, I seek after what I want, what I think I need. There are times, however, when God reminds me of the grace that He has extended to me in salvation and adoption (did you ever stop to think that God could have saved us without making us children and heirs-wow!), or He extends His grace to me in a particular situation. The only acceptable response to God's grace is worship. How many times I fail in this obligation! How far I fall short of responding to God's initiation!
A third thing I love about this definition is that it does not limit the nature of the response. Sometimes the response should be shouting a song to God with our hands held high (did I say that?). Sometimes our response should be active-something we should do for God. At other times, our only response can be to fall prostrate before a loving Father in adoration.
Finally-and this is something that I would probably rather not think about-is that God's initiation might not always be what I would see as a "good" thing (and by good I'm thinking words like fun, pleasant, easy, etc.). My response to the initiation of the Sovereign God should be worship-even if that initiation is not fun, pleasant, or easy. Huh.
Father, give me an intense desire to worship you-however and whenever-anytime you initiate that worship.