How long has it been since you had an English lesson? I had to reach way back to sixth grade to recall the terms “Transitive Verb” and “Direct Object.” It seems that when you learn how to use these forms, you don’t even think about it—you just write! (Right?) Quick refresher: a transitive verb requires both a direct subject and one or more objects. Example: I gave you the book. ("book" is the direct object, and "you" is the non-prepositional indirect object of "give") [big thanks to wikipedia].
So why an English lesson on an otherwise lovely Thursday? I was reading First Pres’ weekly newsletter, the First Epistle, and came across an amazing quote by D.A. Carson on the subject of worship. My pastor, Dr. Duncan, had used in a sermon illustration and added it to his weekly address. Consider Dr. Carson’s words:
"Should we not remind ourselves that worship is a TRANSITIVE verb? We do not meet to worship (i.e. to experience worship): we aim to worship GOD. 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only': there is the heart of the matter. In this area, one must not confuse what is central with byproducts.
If you seek peace, you will not find it; if you seek Christ, you will find peace.
If you seek joy, you will not find it; if you seek Christ, you will find joy.
If you seek holiness, you will not find it; if you seek Christ, you will find holiness.
If you seek experiences of worship, you will not find them; if you worship the living God, you will experience something of what is reflected in the Psalms.
Worship is a transitive verb, and the most important thing about it is the direct object."
I read this quote several times and let it sink in fully. The most important thing about it is the direct object. It made me consider: what is my direct object? What am I worshipping? I am futilely striving for peace without looking for Christ? Am I obsessively chasing after happiness apart from Christ? It seems like a wasted effort to strive for peace, joy and holiness without Christ.
What is your direct object?