We’re going treasure hunting today.
No dirt or shovels are involved. You don’t even need strong muscles. All you need is an open heart.
Let’s pray first; grab my hand.
Lord, you know our hearts better than we do. You can see how open or closed they are to your truth. We need an extra measure of your grace to open our hearts fully to the supernatural life recorded in these ancient words. Prick us. Heal us. Enable us. We love you. Amen.”
Here we go! Ready for a Greek lesson? It comes from today’s Bite of Bread verse.
Paul wrote in Romans, “Therefore, I urge you brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship.” (12:1 NIV)
We think of worship as singing. Maybe dancing and lifting our hands. But worship is so much more. Digging under our English helps us understand worship better in context of Paul’s words. Read the definition of the Greek word translated as “spiritual act of worship”:
Latreia: to serve; religiously to worship. . . It refers particularly to the performance of the Levitical service. . . Allied to latris, a hired servant, as opposed to doulos, a slave. Therefore, to serve or worship but not out of compulsion. (Key Word Bible)
Latreia introduces a physical component to our worship of God. Latreia puts hands and feet on worship. It extends our worship service from Sunday mornings to everyday of the week, every minute of each day. It’s not just lifting our hands during a moving worship song, it’s serving. it’s not just a feeling; it’s action.
But it’s a free action, not out of compulsion. We aren’t robots. We’ve been given free-will.
. . . offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your lateria (serving worship).
I don’t know what this looks like for you. Our sacrifice of “serving worship” may be found in feeding the homeless, going into full time ministry, raising Godly children, inviting our neighbors over for dinner and eventually to church.
It might mean sacrificing sugar or alcohol or your favorite meal during a fast. It might mean really taking inventory of how well we are taking care of our bodies.
But lateria is linked to the Levitical priesthood who ministered in the Tabernacle–in the Presence of God. At one time only a select few could enter after ritual cleansing.
But when Christ died for us, the curtain of the Holy of Holies (where only the priests could enter) tore from top to bottom. This signified our opportunity to enter into His Presence, the most holy place of service. I love what Terry Murphy writes in her teaching about the Tabernacle:
. . . Because God wants His family to be made up entirely of priests (see Exodus 19:6, NKJV). Everyone coming under His curtains is destined to minister to Him, but I’d venture to guess few of us had “priesthood” in mind when we first entered the tent. If you’re like me, you came looking for a refuge from the wilderness, a hiding place from life’s difficulties, a heavenly Father with answers. But God dreams big.” A Step of New Beginnings (click to read the whole post.)
Unlike the priest who entered the Holy of Holies, we no longer need to go through the purifying rituals they did before each entry. Our robes have been washed white by the blood of Jesus. We have been made clean, prepared to minister to our God.
How many times a day do we pray for God to help us or to minister to us?
How would our lives change if each morning, as we sit in His Presence, we ask Him to show us how we can minister to Him?
What an honor.
You’ve been chosen to minister to God.
This is our lateria (lat-ri’-ah).
How will you minister to Him today?