This post is part of a 11 week blog series that highlights the many ways we worship the triune God.
When we think about worship, most of us think of music and singing with our eyes closed, hands raised. Diane Martin agreed with this definition for a long time. She grew up in a Christian home and said she had a narrow view of what worship actually is. As she has continued to grow in her faith, God has been expanding her understanding of worship. “It’s an outpouring of our love for Jesus, an overflow of wanting Him to be in everything we do, enabled by the Holy Spirit within us.” As she explains her understanding of worship, a huge smile punctuates her peaceful demeanour.
NOT ASHAMED TO BE KNOWN AS A BELIEVER
Diane says that her understanding of worship and glorifying God were particularly challenged when she neared retirement. Diane worked as an elementary school teacher for 37 years, most of which were spent teaching kindergarten. Over the course of almost four decades she built many deep relationships with fellow teachers as she worked diligently to help young children embark on their school careers. As the right time came for her to transition out of her career, she found many people were asking her, “What are you going to do?” “Where are you going to go?” However, these were not the questions Diane was asking herself.
As she reflected back on her career she understood that she had been useful as a teacher and had intentionally brought her Christian faith to the classroom and the staff room by not being ashamed to be known as a believer. She would also let colleagues know she was praying for them or would be present as they went through difficult times. When retirement neared she realized she needed to continue being intentional. Now her prayer was “Lord, make me useful. Continue to make me useful in new ways. Show me how you’re going to use me.” She wanted to live every day in light of Romans 12:1: “I appeal to you therefore brothers, by the mercies of God, offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual act of worship.”
A LIVING SACRIFICE
As her understanding of what worship is expands, Diane follows as the Holy Spirit leads her to spend her life intentionally serving others. This spiritual act of worship happens as she serves her elderly mother by visiting her regularly and helping her with the activities of life she is no longer able to do. Diane’s presence with her mother means she is also an encouragement to her mother’s friends. Her service also extends beyond her family as she serves young couples and their children. She has become a grandmother to many children in the family of Westside. She serves these families as needs arise by spending time with the children and encouraging their parents.
DON’T WAIT UNTIL TOMORROW
Although Diane never married or had children of her own, she considers herself richly blessed. In her younger years Diane mourned her singleness. Now she sees it as a great blessing of freedom to serve God in any capacity He leads her in. She has many opportunities to listen to and encourage others, both believers and nonbelievers. She will always bring God into any conversation she has regardless of audience, and because Diane serves with grace and kindness and love, believers and nonbelievers alike receive her words of wisdom rooted in the gospel. As a result, she has found that as she serves others they begin to understand who God is more and more.
Diane emphasizes in our conversation that she is still growing and still makes mistakes, but God’s grace always brings her back to where He wants her to be. She has found this to be true throughout her life. She also stressed that life is short and must be lived deliberately, which reminded us of something Matt Menzel said in a past sermon: “Sanctification does not just naturally occur if we drift through this life. It is an intentional pursuit.” This is also true of worship. Diane says, “We have today. What are we doing today? How are we glorifying God today? Don’t wait until tomorrow. Don’t wait until you’ve gotten to that goal or that benchmark. Glorify Him today. Worship Him today.”
Laura is a Registered Nurse who is a Regional Educator for Fraser Health. She has been attending Westside since before the beginning. She teaches Bible Study, leads a Community Group, and plays on the worship team.