Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ ”

-Acts 17:22–27

Credit: RCCC’s Sermon on “What is worship” series and Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Life.

First, there are some important implication that need to be addressed before the simple truth of what worship is can be appreciated

Paul started by acknowledging Athenian idolatry as “very religious” (v. 22) and as “worship” (v. 23)

  • Implication: religious and worship applies not only to Christians but to all kinds of people
  • Implication: The measure of “religious-ness” or “worship-ness” is not dependent on who but how.
    • Conclusion: every man on earth “worships”: everyone worships something.

Aha, so we have hit upon a something that’s drastic. When you say “Christian” to someone, they immediately respond,

Church, God, Sunday, Worship

And questions like “Where do you worship?” are really just asking, “Which church do you go to?”

Paul is equally insistent on declaring the truth: that the true object of worship is what we value and that all people are worshipers


Having the right object of worship is the pivotal question.

And so, to conclude, we can make a few statements:

  • Everyone on earth is a worshiper
  • Everyone on earth already knows how to worship, and thus, as Christians, we need not to “learn” how to worship but what to worship. That is, how to redirect our worship from things of the world, to God, with reflection on the things of God, to change the objects of worship.

In A Nutshell: The Universality of Worship

Worship is a lifestyle. Worship is the act of statement: “This is what I hold most valued, this is what I am worth, this is what I worship.” All of a sudden the playing field is rather flat. We’re all worshipers.

What are you saying that you’re worshiping with your mouth but really worshiping with your life?

For another time: that implication that God is but a heartfelt seeking away

And he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.

-Acts 17:26–27

Update (04.07.08 )

Grace Ho has written a good post about worship. She all but said it. I hope that she realizes that she has stumbled upon something very important

Here is an excerpt (emphasis mine) as she has a xanga lock on her posts so I’ve put the excerpt below for those of you who don’t have xanga (or are too lazy to sign in)

I long for undisturbed focus.

Then I ask myself why, when I say this, I am thinking of all the stuff I want to do and not God.

It’s not so much that God is absent from my plans. A good amount of the stuff I want to do is in fact God-related, such as be a good small group leader, do my devos regularly, find a significant way to use my writing and art to glorify Him, etc. But somehow, He ends up being just stuff on the list… a list with many, many other things on it. I recall Lue-Yee’s article and realize that I am doing precisely what it warned against: to put God on a list, even if He is number one — which I’m not even sure I’m doing — is not biblical. He should be the overarching theme in all areas, the common thread that links every bullet point on that list, the very tune our lives dance to. <= There it is: Worship. A Lifestyle. Worship God with our mind, soul, heart, strength

I often wonder if I fear God enough. A lot of us end up putting Him in the “He is our friend and comfort” box, forgetting just how terrifying He really is. If He appeared before me this very instant, I would fall prostrate, face down. All of us would. So why don’t we do that daily? Is He not real enough to us? <= I wrote about this just now as well as a comment to a post: “When we know something, say another and do something else entirely.”