“Samuel was ministering before the Lord, a boy clothed with a linen ephod.” – 1 Samuel 2:18
I remember reading this verse one day, stopping a moment to reflect on the words, “ministering before the Lord.” Often times, the word “ministering” takes on the meaning of worship leading, preaching, teaching Sunday school, or ushering people– words so often contextualized with Sunday tasks. We forget that ministering before the LORD has to do primarily with WHOM we stand before.
So who do we stand before? Who do we minister to? Whose presence do we have in our midst? And does this happen only on a Sunday?
It is good to remember that the Lord deserves our utmost attention; our focus; our worship. When we stand before people, it is still God who is our “main audience.” Like Samuel, we minister before HIM. I love that there is a psalm that says, “I will give you thanks in the great assembly; among throngs of people I will praise you” (Psalm 35:18). The focus is still God.
It is good to remember that when it comes to life, our utmost satisfaction comes when we gaze at the Lord’s beauty; when we seek Him; when we love Him with everything we are. When we stand before the Lord, we make His heart our first priority.
The Psalmist said, “One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple” (Psalm 27:4).
It is good to know that we don’t have to wait for Sunday to worship the Lord. We can worship Him now. He is ever with us. Remember: the Lord’s temple is one not built with human hands. Certainly, once upon a time, Solomon built a temple in Jerusalem , but remember how Jesus answered the Samaritan woman when she compared the worship places of Samaritans and Jews? (See John 4) Jesus answered, “Woman, believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth” (John 4:21-24).
In Acts 7:49-50, the Bible furthermore says, “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me? says the Lord. Or where will my resting place be? Has not my hand made all these things?”
Our lives should be resting places where worship rises like incense before the Lord. We don’t have to wait for Sunday, although it is still a privilege to worship Jesus with the rest of our spiritual family. We can worship Him now, wonderfully, adoringly, for He is worthy. 1 Corinthians 3: 16 says, “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?”
Let us live our days with this truth in our hearts: when we minister before the Lord, we minister to His heart, loving Him. Let us gaze at the Lord’s beauty, seeking Him with everything we are.