“It is not what a man does that determines whether his work is sacred or secular; it is why he does it. The motive is everything.” (Tozer, Pursuit of God, 110)
What is a more significant act of worship: brushing your teeth or celebrating Communion? I think we’d all agree that Communion would outrank teeth-brushing on a scale of significance. We have no trouble labeling the act of communion as sacred, but brushing one’s teeth doesn’t often land in that category. I’ve heard of few parents would ask their children at bedtime: “Didst thou perform the sacred act of brushing thy teeth?”
As silly as it sounds, brushing your teeth—when done with proper motives of the heart—is a holy act. The Bible tells us that”whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31, ESV)
Elevating the brushing of your teeth and other mundane activities in no way minimizes the sacred acts of Communion or Baptism or the preaching of the Word or prayer. All it does is to bring all of life into the sphere of the sacred, demolishing the barrier between sacred and secular.
Why do we live our lives divided? Why do I sit before the Lord in Bible reading in prayer, and then shut my Bible and focus my mind n the day at hand, not realizing that the transition I’m making in my mind and heart should not be happening? Life doesn’t involve transitions between holy acts and common acts when your heart is tuned to the Lord.
We held an “A Praying Life” conference this past weekend. More than learning what to pray, we learned how to pray. To pray rightly, you must understand the gospel rightly. When you firmly believe in Jesus and come to fully experience God as your Father, you will rejoice in the reality that you are His child. And you can pray to God as a child would approach their earthly father: honestly, persistently, without pretense, boldly. You are His child and He loves you.
Your status as God’s child doesn’t end when you say, “Amen.” You are God’s child when reading the Bible, praying, while at church, celebrating Communion, brushing your teeth, watching college football, sitting at your desk at work, teaching your children, stuck in traffic. All of life is holy because of your identity as God’s child.
This coincides with the great theological truth reclaimed during the Reformation: the priesthood of all believers. If all of life is holy based on the motives of our hearts and our status as children of God, then we are “all a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:5, ESV) All work is sacred, not just pastors and missionaries. In “The Pursuit of God,” A.W. Tozer says, “It is not what a man does that determines whether his work is sacred or secular; it is why he does it. The motive is everything. Let a man sanctify the Lord God in his heart and he can thereafter do no common act. All he does is good and acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For such a man, living itself will be sacramental and the whole world a sanctuary. His entire life will be a priestly ministration.” (Tozer, Pursuit of God, 110)
As Christians, the world in which we live is our sanctuary. Our lives are an offering of worship to God (see Romans 12:1-2). Everything we do can be a holy act. “So whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:17 ESV)
So live your life. Brush your teeth. Watch college football. Do you corporate job. Teach your kids. Go to school. Do it all as a child of God. Do it as a holy priest before the Lord. Do it all to the glory of God, giving thanks to Him.