Well, what’s wrong with the statement? Nothing perhaps, except that we need to define what we mean by the words ‘ultimate’ and ‘worship’.
Ultimate here implies something of utmost significance, value and desirability; something to which other things point or culminate. The idea here is that God values and desires our worship more than anything else and that this is what we were created for: to worship Him. I believe this is what most people have in mind when they say that worship is the ultimate thing.
Now, if when you say ‘worship’ you mean a lifestyle of righteousness and godly obedience that seeks to honor God in every way, including and definitely not limited to our worship acts and arrangements, then I could agree with you. But if by worship you’re referring to your sound-and-motion stunts at church or elsewhere, then I say No, that ‘worship’ is not the ultimate thing. If you reduce worship to just singing of songs and all the associated activities we know and explore at our public and private sessions, then it’s silly to tag that ‘worship’ as the ultimate or most important thing.
We are not the first generation of humans to imagine that all we need do to make God happy is organize some massive worship concert. Prophet Amos passed on this harsh rebuff from the Lord to the people of his day:
“I hate, I despise your religious festivals; your assemblies are a stench to me. Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for them. Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps. But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!“
Apparently, some things are more important to God than our worship acts and gatherings! We may croon and howl and shout all we want; roll on the floor and let the tears and sweat flow; prance around some space in a spirited frenzy and build up our reputations as the ‘best’ worshipers and worship leaders the land has ever known. If we do not give thought to justice in our dealings with others, and righteousness doesn’t matter much to us, His verdict is clear: we’re wasting our time. Living our lives in righteous obedience to His will (it’s called Holiness!) is more important to Him than endless sessions of ‘great worship’ offered by fun-seeking multitudes gathered around over-adulated superstar worship leaders.
“But worship is all we’ll be doing in Heaven,” you probably have heard someone say. Another lie from Hell – I haven’t read this in the Bible. This worship that you know cannot be all we’ll be doing when Christ gathers us to Himself. How unimaginative! And how insulting to assume that the Great God of the Universe couldn’t do better than to create for us a final home where all we’d do is hang around permanently singing and worshiping! Please quit insulting Jehovah! Certainly the great genius that birthed this mind-boggling plethora of creative diversity we call Nature can do much better than such ultimate blandness? The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 2 verses 9 and 10:
However, as it is written:“What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived — the things God has prepared for those who love him — these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.”
If all you can see of the future by His Spirit is an eternity of singing and worshiping and nothing more, cleanse your inner sight and look again. Who says we won’t be exploring new frontiers of knowledge and charting new courses in science and technology? Who says we won’t be given new mandates by the Great One, released to push the bounds of imagination and creativity under the supervision of the Alpha and Omega? Who says some of us won’t be busy with inter-galactic projects, darting from one planet to another on exciting assignments for the Master, even interacting with new and hitherto unknown life forms? Reigning with Him forever suggests more to me than an endless worship concert!
Back to the topic, if you want to catch a glimpse of Worship that could pass for the ultimate thing, look in the Bible at the young man Joseph who chose the tough path of integrity and purity and said to his master’s temptress wife, “How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” Or Daniel whose detractors had to admit about him: “We will never find any basis for charges against this man Daniel unless it has something to do with the law of his God.” Those are instances of a lifestyle of worship, something that our God obviously has very high regard for.
God enjoys our music-aided worship, I’m sure, especially when it’s offered sincerely by hearts devoted to him. But please don’t tell your next worship audience that ‘this’ show is the ultimate thing. Everything has its place. And time. The Lord we seek to reach and please in worship, for instance, is the same One whose last command to His followers was to go out into all the world and preach the Gospel. Sometimes we may need to pause and listen, and perceive His preference. Who knows, maybe today, just today, He wants us to silence the instruments and just pray and intercede? Maybe this month, just this month, He would have us spend a little more time and resources reaching out to the unsaved than we plan to expend on our next great worship concert?