The proverb ‘Work is Worship’ establishes a relationship between God and your actions. You could be of any faith – Hindu, Muslim or Christian, your actions in everyday life, what you do, what you speak, etc. are worthy of worship, if they bring glory to God and to humanity as well. In other words – if you work devotedly and stay obedient and don’t harm anyone, then you can do without literally worshipping God.
Perhaps, God is more pleased by your actions than the time you spend worshipping him. Your actions are more significant than the worship when it comes to glorifying God.
Expansion of idea
The expansion of ‘work is worship’ combines the idea of work performed in offices or other places, with the worship performed in places of religion.
Professionals go to the office; farmers and laborers work in fields – everyone works in their respective places. Likewise, for worship, we go to temples, churches, or mosques. The phrase combines these two activities.
Work, as we all know is something that we do for a living, to sustain the needs of our loved ones. The word ‘worship’ has come from ‘worth-ship’ which means that whatever we do; we must add the worthiness to it. Whatever you do, if it is worthy of doing and done with sincerity then it is equivalent to worship.
Therefore, the phrase, ‘work is worship’ teaches us to keep the right attitude towards our work. If we are able to do that, yet doesn’t worship, then also, we need not to worry because ‘work is worship’.
Short Stories on ‘Work is Worship’
A story is the best way to understand the true worth of a proverb. Keeping this in mind, I am giving below a couple of stories on ‘work is worship’, that will give you a deeper understanding of the proverb.
Short Story 1
There lived a lazy farmer who didn’t want to go to the fields and sat in a temple the whole day, thinking that he can seek out a living with what the people offer. So whatever the grain, food people offer to God, the farmer took it and cooked it as dinner. He was living the life of his dreams – not working at all, resting all day, yet getting enough food to survive.
It so happened, that, once the village was struck by drought followed by famine. There was hardly any food left with the villagers, thankfully they all were surviving on grains they had saved in years. But, one man was left without even an ounce of grain, and it was the poor lazy farmer. Because of the famine, there were no offerings made to the temple and so the farmer faced hunger every day. He cursed himself every moment for not working and instead of sitting in the temple and praying. Had he worked and not only worshipped for months; probably he wouldn’t be starving today. At last, the farmer learnt the lesson that ‘work is actual worship’.
Short Story 2
There lived two friends in a remote Indian village. One was a poor yet hardworking blacksmith while other was a lazy priest in a small village temple. The priest often jokingly says to the blacksmith that however hard he works, God will favor only the priest as he worships regularly.
The blacksmith was so engrossed in his everyday work that he never got time to visit the temple. The two of them meet only during late night hours or in a village meeting or so. Time passed by and after years of hard work and persistence, the blacksmith became the richest man in the village. He decided to donate a decent amount of money to the village temple and was called for a small felicitation ceremony.
There he met his old friend, the priest, who by this time has realized the true worth of working hard. When the blacksmith was asked about the secret of his success, he just uttered three words ‘Work is Worship’. Indeed!! Thought the priest.
A well-written sentence as an example to explain a proverb is worth more than a complete paragraph in this regard. I have given below some fresh examples on the proverb ‘work is worship’ that will help you understand the true meaning of the proverb.
“A soldier who guards our borders for months at a time, without even visiting a temple or mosque; still, is more dear to God than we, who worship every day. Indeed work is worship”.
“Rony asked his doctor mother to visit the Church together on Sunday, but she told him that she has a very important surgery to attend on Sunday morning. Rony went alone filled with all sorts of atheistic views about her mother. There in the sermon, he heard words ‘work is worship’. His views about his mother were completely changed.”
“The God doesn’t want you to worship him every day he just wants you to do whatever you do with passion and a kind heart for everyone else. Your actions are as good as worship, if they are sincere, honest, and done with good intentions. Work is indeed worship.”
“If you worship five times a day, still your actions are foul and malignant, then the worship will get you no reward from God at all. In fact, you would be punished.”
“A man who does his work, honestly and diligently, needs not to fear God, because he is worshipping God through his work.”
The exact origin of the proverb ‘work is worship’ could not be ascertained; however, a similar explanation is found in the Gospel of Christ, by Paul the Apostle. He wrote in Col. 3:17 – “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father, through him.” He further wrote – “so whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
Later, the proverb ‘Work is Worship’ had been used by many scholars and leaders, throughout the world. Swami Vivekananda mentioned it as well as Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the nation also mentioned it from time to time in his speeches.
The proverb ‘work is worship’ teaches us to work obediently and sincerely without any deviation from our goals. It indicates the true worth of our life. The true essence of life is in what we do and how obediently we do it, but not in how much time we spend worshipping God.
God is pleased by what we do, by our actions, more than he is by our worship. In fact, he can happily let go of the worship if our actions are noble. The phrase teaches us that God just wants us to be sincere in our conduct than worshipping him all the time.
It leads us to the path of success in whatever we do, by instilling qualities like – honesty and devotion.