This might date me quite a bit, but one of my favorite TV shows growing up was this daytime soap opera called, “The Millionaire.” It was about this guy who worked for a multi-millionaire philanthropist. His full-time job was to disperse one million dollar checks to pre-selected people who were in need. These were also people who were sincerely trying to help other people. And the checks were to be given anonymously – no one was to know who this Benefactor was.
I loved this show mostly because I thought, “Wouldn’t it be great to be on the receiving end of something like that!” But partly I was also intrigued by the type of person who would do something so wonderful and yet remain anonymous. Such a person had a depth of character that I lacked, and yet deeply desired.
In our journey of worship that goes “beyond the songs,” a whole-life worship, we have learned that true worship of God begins with the offering of our lives and results in the transformation of our character – to the likeness of our Lord Jesus. Our inner desire to become people like “The Millionaire” is just an evidence of a deeper desire to become like Christ (who is the true “Benefactor”).
Perhaps you’ve heard people say (especially Christians) that if they won the lottery, they would give millions to the church, millions to feed the poor, then pay off their mortgage, quit their jobs, and do full-time volunteer ministry. Of course, Christians usually don’t enter the lottery, much less win it! And it keeps this hypothetical situation in an easy hypothetical realm.
But we don’t have to wait to become millionaires to become givers and do-gooders. In fact, whole life worship is as much service (latreuo) as it is devotion (proskuneo). One of the big ways we serve God is to serve others (see Matthew 25:40 – as we help the least of people, we are doing good deeds to the King, Himself).
In Matthew 6:1-4, Jesus gives us powerful guidelines on how we are to do acts of kindness. He tells us to do these things “in secret”; hidden from the public eye. By doing it in secret, we put to death the desires of the flesh, which longs to be recognized by others. Also, it transforms our character and perspective. The source of good gifts and service is not us, but God. We, like the man who dispensed the checks in “The Millionaire,” are merely agents carrying out the good wishes of the true Benefactor. To take credit for such good acts is wrong and unnecessary.
I want to encourage you to worship the Lord through “secret random acts of kindness;” doing good deeds that are often unseen by others. This is the type of whole life worship God loves to receive (the New Testament actually talks more about this than the activity we see in most corporate worship gatherings).
Here are some ideas on what this could look like: picking up trash in the neighborhood, praying for strangers in the hospital, writing an anonymous note of kindness to another, paying someone’s rent or utility bill, etc. (maybe you have some ideas to share with me!)
Sometimes, you may get “caught in the act” (it has happened to me on occasion). In that case, just give credit to God – “the Lord told me that I should do this, so it’s His fault.” The object is to worship the Lord (not ourselves) by doing what He wants us to do.
Hebrews 10:19-25 gives us a good model of worship: drawing near to God (v. 22), hold unswervingly to our hope (v. 23), encouraging each other in fellowship (v. 25) and (v. 24) spurring one another toward love and good deeds… Consider yourself “spurred”!