Do you see what we’ve got? An unshakable kingdom! And do you see how thankful we must be? Not only thankful, but brimming with worship, deeply reverent before God. [Hebrews 12:28 (MSG)]
Can worship be fun? In various translations, Hebrews 12:28 tells us to worship God with reverence and awe, honor and respect, or deep reverence. No where is there any mention of fun. In fact, except for the somewhat cynical and world-weary words directing us to eat, drink, and be merry in Ecclesiastes 8:15 Scripture uses the word “fun” in a negative way—that of “making fun” of someone. Hagar was sent away after she and Ishmael made fun of Isaac, Delilah accused Sampson of making fun of her with his lies, and the fertile Peninnah made fun of Hannah because of her barrenness. So, if, by “fun,” we mean mere amusement (especially at another’s expense), it doesn’t seem that fun and worship go hand in hand. On the other hand, if by “fun” we mean something deeper than light-hearted entertainment or diversion, perhaps it does.
When using fun in its broader definition of enjoyable, pleasurable, and joyful, it appears that worship can and should be all that and more! After all, there are well over 300 instances of joy, joyful, or joyous in Scripture, many of which are associated with worship. 2 Chronicles 30 tell us that the people of Judah enjoyed the seven-day festival of Passover so much that “they celebrated joyfully for another week” and “there was great joy in the city.” Although having fun should never be our primary purpose for worship, we often find that worship gives rise to enjoyment, pleasure, and joy! Indeed, worship can be fun!
Worship, however, is more than an act; it is an attitude not limited to Sunday mornings and church. Since God’s Holy Spirit lives in us, we should live in a way that corresponds to His nature at all times. Colossians 3:23 tells us to work as though we were working for the Lord, perhaps we should play the same way—as if we were playing with the Lord! Just as we worship in our work by serving, witnessing, honoring and glorifying Him as we labor, we should do the same in our leisure time and fun.
But, does the way we relax, play, and spend our free time honor and glorify the Lord? Do we choose our reading material, movies, or TV shows with Him in mind? When socializing with our friends, do our words and actions give evidence of God’s presence in our lives? Do we honor God and His children with our humor or does it consist of mockery, sarcasm, or ridicule? As for sports—does the way we compete and react to the coach’s decisions, the umpire’s call, another player’s error, or our defeat honor God? Do we bring Him to Bible study and choir practice but leave the Lord behind when going to the gym, pickleball court, golf course, yoga studio, bridge table, or book club? Is Jesus invited when we dish with our friends over coffee, watch our child’s baseball game, or relax at the 19th hole with our golf buddies? Do we pack God in our bag when we go on vacation or is He left home with the work clothes and computer? What happens in Vegas may stay in Vegas but whatever happens in Vegas is how we’ve chosen to worship the Lord!
Worshiping God in spirit and in truth means we worship with our entire lives, at all times, and in all places—whether at church, work, or play. Regardless of what we’re doing or where we’re doing it, our words and actions always should bring glory to God. The question really isn’t whether worship can be fun; the question is whether our fun is worship!