The Worship Quote of the Week for (07/29/2003):

Where's the Focus
Today’s WORSHIP QUOTE reminds us of the appropriate focus for biblical worship. The author is Donald Whitney.

Since worship is focusing on and responding to God, regardless of what else we are doing we are not worshiping if we are not thinking about God. You may be listening to a sermon, but without thinking of how God’s truth applies to your life and affects your relationship with Him, you aren’t worshiping. You may be singing “Holy, holy, holy,” but if you aren’t thinking about God while singing it, you are not worshiping. You may be listening to someone pray, but if you aren’t thinking of God and praying with them, you aren’t worshiping. There is a sense in which all things done in obedience to the Lord, even everyday things at work and at home, are acts of worship. But these things are not substitutes for the direct worship of God.

Worship often includes words and actions, but it goes beyond them to the FOCUS of the mind and heart. Worship is the God-centered focus and response of the inner man: it is being preoccupied with God. So no matter what you are saying or singing or doing at any moment, you are worshiping God only when you are focused on Him and thinking of Him. But whenever you do focus on the infinite worth of God, you will respond in worship as surely as the moon reflects the sun. This kind of worship isn’t in vain.

— Donald S. Whitney, SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINES FOR THE CHRTISTIAN LIFE. Chapter 5, “Worship . . . For the Purpose of Godliness.” Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2002, p. 86-87. ISBN 1-57683-330-5

[If this selection interests you, please visit Don Whitney’s web site at]

Have a great week,

Chip Stam
Director, Institute for Christian Worship
School of Church Music and Worship
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Louisville, Kentucky