Worship: The Ministry of Priests

The Official Publication of the Church of God of Prophecy


Tim Atterberry,
Louisville, Kentucky

Worship is much more than our good deeds to or on behalf of God. Every action that is born of love for God is an act of worship. When I know that God loves me and realize His care for me through His Son, Jesus, then my good deeds can be considered a response of worship. This is why James teaches us that “faith without works is dead” (James 2:26). Faith requires love according to the writer of Hebrews who said, “Faith works through love” (Galatians 5:6). Good deeds will be an automatic response to the love of God reflecting on me to the world. This type of love for God is a loyal obedience to God. Worship would then be my holistic response to what God is doing in me—every aspect of it, spiritual or practical.

My response to God is a reasonable act of service to Him and for Him. The Apostle Paul said it is our “reasonable service” (Romans 12:1). A lifestyle of worship could be defined as a life of love and devotion to God. As I enter this love relationship with God, I find that the focus of my life becomes Him and what He desires. I begin to love what He loves. This is where my role and your role as priests can be revealed. “We are a royal priesthood, a holy nation” (1 Peter 2:9).

Have you thought much about your role as a priest? Priests minister to God first, and then to the people. I’ve been guilty of spending a lot of time with God and very little ministering to others. I’ve also been guilty of helping others in my name more than in the name of God—getting the glory for myself, even if unintentional. The mistake is made when we are not grasping our role as priests in the kingdom of God. We first minister to God and therefore are enabled to minister to the people. This is the lifestyle of a priest. When we see our role as a priest of God, we begin to understand how all acts of worship are acts of ministry. I believe we have a dual role in our worship. We minister to God and we minister to people. Our worship defines what, why, and how we do things. As our love for God grows, it becomes much easier to realize our role as priest and our lifestyle of worship, all channeled by our love for God.

When God’s love flows over me, then it overflows to others. When you see someone in love, a couple of things become rather obvious. You quickly realize who or what is the object of their love and you see a change in their behavior. Nothing seems to agitate or bother them so easily anymore. Nothing takes precedence over the object of their love. Those around sense this focus and often find the person more amiable, yet hard to distract from the focus of their desires. This is the nature of love. God’s love pours over people in a way that everyone sees its affects— an unrelenting focus, a friendlier countenance, and even a love for the things that God loves.

God loves sinners. He has focused the forces of heaven on saving the lost. It is hard for me to admit, but I have been self-focused—often. Although it may have been unintentional and innocent, it is very dangerous and is not Christ-centered. One of my greatest realizations of self-focused lifestyle was thinking I always had to think about saving myself. I felt that my goal was heaven, not realizing that heaven was my destiny—the outcome. In making heaven a goal for myself, rather than an outcome from my walk with God, I found myself trying to do the right things to please God. It seemed that I was working to save myself and not so much focused on saving others, which is the desire of Jesus.

I am finding that when I minister to God, offering up my life to His service, praising, thanking Him, and realizing His sovereignty, my faith grows because I trust God to take me with Him to forever be with Him in heaven. The natural overflow is turning love toward the people and allowing His Spirit to work through me by doing good to others, helping them in their needs, feeding, clothing, and an overall care for whoever He puts in my path. I no longer have to worry so much about me when I am focused on how He loves, who He loves, and what He loves. Our doing in this framework becomes an expression of our worship. So we must be careful of a selfcentered thinking error that saving ourselves from hell is our goal. Heaven is our destiny because Jesus’ love permeates our lives. His forgiveness and our acceptance through faith bring about our salvation. We know that worship is becoming a lifestyle for us when we focus on sharing the Word with others, praying with others, and doing the right things to and for others. The response becomes selflessness and forgiving. Our love for God constrains us to minister to others. We lose the need to try and save ourselves when we’ve sacrificed it all to God. The act of sacrifice is not giving up something. It is giving our something into our relationship with God which is our reasonable service. As we practice ministering to God and then to others, our ministry, as priest, is ignited in us. As practicing priests in the kingdom of God, a lifestyle of worship will be the result and the reward of heaven will be our destiny.