Salaam Whisper and Salaam to everyone
Ibada is basically a term unknown to modern Muslims, their best understanding is what they watched in Hollywood movies depicting a person in cosmetic ritualistic acts of worship. So I admire a person as yourself who asks such honest and genuine question.
I cannot answer this question in any straightforward way, however over the years collected bits and pieces from books:
In Sunni books of the Arab, there are references to the Prophet’s saying that glancing upon the face of Imam Ali is Ibada! Does this mean worship, no not in the language Arab:
the glance upon one parents’ face is Ibada, said the Prophet peace be upon him.
‘The best of a man’s Ibada (Servitude for Allah) is his good opinions/judgments (about Allah or people)’, said the Prophet.
‘The faster stays within the (state of) Ibada (Servitude for Allah), from dawn till dusk, if he does not backbite; if he does backbite his fasting is ruined’, said the Prophet.
The highest level and most precious Ibada:
‘There is no poverty worse than ignorance, no investment with more return than that of ‘Aql (Intellect), and no Ibada (Servitude for Allah) like unto the Tafakkur (Thinking)’, said the Prophet.
‘Abada is the odoriferous incense burning on fire, ‘Abd is a plant with nice aroma.
لسان العرب ابن منظور
والعَبَدَةُ: صَلاءَةُ الطيِّب. ابن الأَعرابي: العَبْدُ نَبات طَيِّبُ الرائحة؛
‘Abd has the botanical nature of blooming aromatic plants and in extreme cases like an incense burning upon the flares of trials and tribulations, only to give out one of the most unique and loveliest aromas in heavens and earth.
Sometimes a plant must be dried i.e. dead in order for it to burn on the fire to give off lovely aroma, so are many ‘Abid (Servants of Allah) during their lives no one senses anything from their direction, but upon their death universe fills with the aroma of Divine Beauty!