If you’ve ever limped into church on Sunday, exhausted by the travails of the life, enervated from a week of inane distractions, weak from the effort of simply arriving, then… you’re like most of us. We suffer chronically from an acute ailment: worship deficiency. Truth is, worship is one of the primary spiritual food groups, and must be a big part of our daily spiritual diet. Without praising God, we wither. And according to our nature, if we don’t fill our days with worship, we will fill them with something else. Consider the title character in Eric Carle’s classic children’s book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
From the moment he hatches, the caterpillar is ravenous. He sets out at once to satiate his enormous appetite. Each day of the week, he finds a new food, and each day he eats an additional portion. By the fifth day, after trying five different fruits, he is still not satisfied. He decides it’s time to set temperance aside and just gorge himself. So on Saturday, he eats every food he can find, most of which are not suitable for a growing caterpillar. However, instead of finally meeting his need for sustenance, he ends up with an aching stomach, which for a larva, must be like a complete body ache. On Sunday, the caterpillar returns to what is best for him - green leaves. That was what he really needed all along! With his hunger appeased, he can grow to be what God intended him to be, a butterfly.
Often it’s like that for us. We go through our week filling ourselves with this and that, sometimes the other. Most of it is benign, but empty; some of it is just plain harmful. When Sunday rolls around, we replenish our depleted beings with worship. We feel energized, reinvigorated, and ready to live for God again. Then the loop kicks off again.
God has a better approach for us. The Psalmist (NIV) gives us lots of clues about what we really need: “I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you” (63:5); “My mouth is filled with your praise, declaring your splendor all day long” (71:8); “Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous laws” (119:164). And what about the gigantic load this life heaps on us every day? “Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.” (Ps. 68:19, NIV)
We can’t live for God to the fullest unless we praise him daily because the desire to worship God is an innate part our beings, even though it is affected by sin. “I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you.” (Ps. 63:1b NIV) Have you ever noticed how praising God makes you feel? Does it uplift you, give you peace? For me it does. The sacrifice of praise refreshes my spirit. I encourage you to make a point this week (and after that, too, of course) to worship God every day. I’ll revisit this topic down the road, offering some of specific ideas. For now just know how important it is, and please share your thoughts and experiences.