On Worship and Other Important Things: Questions and Answers with Boys
Today's blog posting is a repost from our previous monthly newsletter.
By Dana Leischner
Asking our three boys big questions at dinner is one of my favorite activities. The answers—like the boys themselves—are as unpredictable as the wind. A few nights ago, I asked them this one: “If you could have dinner with anyone besides Jesus, living or dead, who would it be?”
Not losing a moment, seven-year-old Isaak confidently announced, “Bob Ross.”
Bob Ross? How did a soft-spoken landscape painter and PBS television host from 30 years ago get to the top of Isaak’s VIP list? While it is still a mystery to me, Isaak was more than certain. And, he wanted painting lessons from him, too.
So, you see, big questions can lead to some thought-provoking responses in our house—and no small amount of discussion along the way.
My second question that evening was a little bigger: “What is worship?” The boys were quiet for a minute, thinking. Tomas, who is ten, said that it was singing and dancing before the Lord. Josef, three years older, said that worship is a response of who we are to who God is. Wow … these answers were so encouraging to me! While I see these guys wrestling each other and climbing trees more than I see them “dancing before the Lord,” it is clear that they have been listening and absorbing ideas about who God is and how we relate to Him.
Nevertheless, while they responded thoughtfully to the question, I wanted to see how they put feet on their answers. I asked them, “How do we worship as a family?” This brought lots of replies all around, such as praying, giving an offering, exploring God’s creation together, reading the Bible, helping others, attending church, and setting aside time on Saturdays to take a “Sabbath rest,” much like the one God modeled for His creation all the way back at the beginning of the world. We have been trying to practice rest as a family so that we will remember Who is in control of our lives and schedules by regularly disconnecting from digital things and the crazy pace of the week … and the boys are far better at it than their parents!
But the comment that intrigued me the most came from Josef after all the other ideas had been shared. “I think we also worship God by not doing some things,” he suggested. This led to a discussion about how God’s character is connected to how we worship. After all, true worship is not abstract adoration, but esteem for an actual Someone, who has His own distinct likes and dislikes. Worship is our unique response to the One who made us and calls us His own. In this way, responding to God is not all that different from the way we honor and show love to the people in our family. When the boys ask me which one of them I love the most, I tell them that I love each one of them with my whole heart, but that the way I express that love to each son can look different at times, because they are all distinct personalities.
God is this way, too. The reason worship is a “response” is because God is always the initiator. He pursues us with hesed, the Hebrew word for a faithful, rock-solid, devoted love that implies the idea of belonging together in relationship. He will pursue us patiently and compassionately in ways that our individual design and experience in life can receive. Oh, what a wonderful God!
This is possibly the best part about question-and-answer sessions with boys: there are always more questions to ask that lead to great conversations, especially when it comes to big ideas like worship. Perhaps next time, we will chase out a few ways we see God display hesed love in the Bible and in our very own lives, and consider how He desires to hear from us about it.
Would you like to join us? Take a moment today to reflect on the following worship verse.
Thank God for the beautiful qualities of His character that are reflected here, and especially for the ways you have seen their imprint on your life:
But You, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, Slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness and truth.
PSALM 86:15 NASB