Summary: Too often it is true that those who pray do not work and those who work do not pray. Real worship will engage our entire beings and will empower us for action.
I’m sure you know the statement which Jesus made, "God is a spirit; and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth." We want to think today about both spirit and truth. Worshipping in both modes.
Over the door of the monastery hung a sign. It read, "To pray is to work; to work is to pray." "To pray is to work; to work is to pray."
But someone, on reading that sign, said that the trouble with the world is that the people who pray don’t work and the people who work don’t pray!
How are we going to bring those two sides of life together? How are we going to blend being both dreamers and doers, both visionaries and activists?
Some folks are dreamers. Some folks spend their lives in dreamy reflection. These are what I call the "big picture" people. They think in terms of grand truths and big ideas. They prop their feet up on the desk and dream up wonderful things for other people to do! They don’t do; they just give birth to ideas. They are dreamers.
The pastor of a church here in the District once told me that he considered himself a "big picture" man. He said, "I preach, I counsel, and I share the vision." "And so," he said, "I need a large staff to work with me, because I don’t do anything. I don’t write letters or calculate budgets or move chairs or set up the VCR for film showings. I need a staff to do that; my job," he said, "is to imagine the big picture. "
Well, now do you see what they meant they mean when they argued that the trouble is that the people who pray don’t work!?
But then some folks spend their lives doing. Doing without thinking about it, doing, without much reflection. Some do so much that they get bogged down in the details. Some folks see nothing but just the daily do, do, do, work, work, work. I call them "assembly line" people.
Anybody here ever worked on an assembly line? On the assembly line, your job is to do one thing, over and over and over. You are told that this one thing fits in, so that a good product is produced, but you don’t really see the product. You just do your thing on the assembly line, over and over and over. One worker said, "My job is to tighten six nuts on the car chassis as it passes by. And sometimes I think if I have to tighten one more nut I’ll be one myself!" Some are not big picture people at all; they are assembly line people.
Or, in other words, the trouble is that the people who work don’t pray, don’t have a vision of where their life is going. It just goes, that’s all.
Dreamers and doers, visionaries and activists. How do you bring those two sides of life together? If you are a dreamer, with visions and feelings and deep-down hopes, how do you find the focus to make sense of it all and make it work? Or if you are a doer, ready for action and bursting with energy, how do you feel fulfilled, how do you know what it all means?
The answer is worship. Authentic worship. Worship that both engages the senses and makes sense. Worship which is authentic will, first, help us feel something when we are doers and will then help us do something when we are visionaries. Worship which is real will engage our senses, our whole beings; and it will make sense of the way we use our lives.
It was a crisis time. The great King of Judah had just died. And with Uzziah’s death died an era of prosperity and effectiveness in the nation. What would happen next? No one quite knew. The new king, Jotham, was untried. On the borders were two hostile powers, Israel and Syria, and the future looked dangerous for Judah.
Now when the future looks dangerous, what kind of leader do we need? Do we need a dreamer? Or do we need a doer? Do we need people with vision or do we need action people? When the times are critical, do we need "big picture" types or do we need "assembly line" types?
The answer is we need both. We need both. We need someone who will fill his whole being with a sense of God’s glory; and we need someone who will get down to the trenches and do something about it. How do you get a person like that? You get a person like that through authentic worship.
The young prophet Isaiah, in a crisis time, wondering what to do with his own life, pondering what would become of the nation, went to the Temple in Jerusalem to worship. Listen to how Isaiah’s experience of worship gave him both a vision and a plan of action. It made him a dreamer; it also made him a doer.