Of all we do as Christians, few things are as durable.

A seminary professor once asked his class to write down their first thought when they heard the word “waitress.” The results: “bored,” “angry,” “inefficient,” “soup spots on her uniform,” “always looking for a tip.”

“Fine,” said the professor when the results were read in class. “I wondered what you would write. You see, my mother was a waitress.”

Suppose we were asked the same question, but this time using the phrase “worship.” What words would jump out first?

Speaking ideally, we would bear in mind that the value of what we do is measured by how long it lasts. And of all we do as Christians, few things are as durable as worship. (But would we write down “durable”?) Evangelism will end, and education, as will prophecy and social service. But worship is forever.

Still thinking ideally, we realize that the best and the brightest in the eternal realm already know this. John’s vision of heaven has four terrifyingly magnificent and wise creatures singing day and night, without ceasing, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come!” (Rev. 4:8). That is all they do, forever and ever. Each time we turn a page in the Book of Revelation we are looking at yet another scene of worship in heaven. Here it involves the 24 elders, there ten thousand times ten thousand angels, elsewhere the martyred saints.

But all this excitement over worship was for years pretty much theory to me. In fact, it disturbed me, especially when I was in junior high school. Heaven seemed nothing more than one long performance of Handel’s ...

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