Growing up, my grandparents had this framed poster in their house that said “Take your everyday ordinary life-your sleeping, eating, going to work, and walking around life- and place it before God as an offering.” Now I know this is Romans 12:1-2 from “The Message” translation of the bible, but back then I just thought it was a cool poster that they had. And I also thought of them whenever I saw it. They truly embodied this quote.
Everything they did was an offering to God: their family, their occupations, and once they retired, their mission work. They worked in churches, and were faithful members. They owned a home in Mount Hermon that housed missionaries and loved them well between missions. They lived in the heart of West Oakland, and loved their community well. They loved their children and grandchildren well: buying an RV and taking long trips to visit us, as all their children lived in different states. And even in their retirement home they continued to work tirelessly to spread the love of Christ, opening a nonprofit that helped young children learn to read purely through the support of volunteers in the community. They truly used every single part of their lives as an offering to God, some translations say that this will be an “act of worship.”
Nowadays, worship is a word that we hear and think singing songs to the Lord, but the word is defined as honoring or showing reverence for a divine being (Meriam Webster). Singing songs to the Lord is certainly a form of worship, but everything we do can, and should, be an act of worship. I think my grandparents’ life is a perfect example of an act of worship, and I think the wise men also personified this honor and reverence for Jesus. For two years, they followed a star in the sky that the Lord had given them to guide them to see the baby Jesus.
“After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.” Matthew 2:9-11
For the wisemen, worship was traveling a long way, opening up their treasure chest, and giving their best to Jesus. And I think worship can be that for us.
My grandparents could have made many different choices in their lives, and all would have been wholly acceptable to God. They could have attended church, served the Lord when they saw a need, and raised their children in the church. They could have made choices that were still good, and still Godly. But they chose to jump in with both feet. They chose to live their lives as if their journey was an act of worship. Like them, every step the wisemen took in their two year trek was following that star. And that star never left them, just like God never left my grandparents. I am sure there were hard days when they were following the star, and there were tough times for my grandparents, but they focused on the recipient of their worship, on their guiding star, and it was never for naught.
And when the wisemen saw the baby Jesus they fell down in worship, and opened up their treasure chest. They opened up the gifts they had packed for their journey. They opened up their lives, peered inside, and said what can we offer to Him? What is our best? My grandparents opened their treasure chest every step of the way. When they were raising my Dad and his brother they thought, “how can we share this raising a family thing with others?” They chose to have foster children. They opened up their home, and showed the love of Christ to several kids who needed it most, one of which they ended up adopting. And as their kids grew and left the house, they knew there was more they could give. They moved to Mount Hermon to serve other missionaries on their breaks from mission work. And then again, as they retired they opened up their chest of treasures and said, I think we can love West Oakland well. They opened up their treasure chest, and said “Lord what can we give now? What of our gifts do you want now?” I could go on forever.
And lastly, the wise men handed over their best. They didn’t poke around in the chest and say “Well I’ve got a lot more myrrh at home so he can have this, or I think I could buy some more gold when I get home, so here’s this.” They chose their most precious gifts and laid them in front of the Lord as an offering. My grandparents always gave their best. They always thought of Christ first, and laid these gifts as an offering to the Lord. When they entered into a retirement home, where most people just sit and visit with each other and relax, maybe play a little tennis or do water aerobics, my grandparents said here is my best. In this time when I could be resting and relaxing here is what I have. Here is the best of my life’s work: my grandpa’s administrative and networking abilities, and my grandma’s love for reading, and ability to endear anyone to her and her cause. Here is my best, and it’s for you, Jesus.
So as we enter into this time of Christmas, and even into the New Year, how can you “take your everyday ordinary life-your sleeping, eating, going to work, and walking around life- and place it before God as an offering?” What if every single one of your actions was an act of worship? How would that change what you’re doing now? What is in your treasure chest? What is the best you have in this season of life, and how can you offer it to the Lord? This next year and onward, let’s use our life journeys as an act of worship to God, let’s open our treasure chests, and give him our best. Let that be our most precious act of worship.