Jump Start #3194
Jump Start # 3194
Psalms 122:1 “I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord.’”
I’m teaching a class that we call, “Profiles of Serving,” a take off of John Kennedy’s book, “Profiles of Courage.” The class looks at different people in the Bible who had the heart of a servant. Obviously, as we look at these character studies, we learn about serving and build a bridge to what we ought to be doing.
A recent study in that class took us to Simon of Cyrene who was compelled to carry the cross of Jesus. That study made us look at times when we have to do things. Taking care of aging parents fits into that. Raising your children falls under this. Even going to worship is something that we are supposed to do. What we saw in that class is that the spirit we carry can often ruin the good that we are doing. The question was asked, “How do we move from ‘HAVE TO,’ to ‘WANT TO?’” Have to, is about duty and obligation. It’s like having to serve on a jury. It’s like being drafted in the military. You do your service because you have to. Your heart may not be there. You may not want to do this, but you are compelled.
And, for some, worship is like that. They never miss a service, but it’s out of duty and not love. They have to, not that they want to. So what are the steps from “have to” to “want to?”
Our verse today well illustrates the spirit of want to. I was glad when they said, ‘Let’s go to the house of worship.’ That is much different than the spirit that says, “Do we have to go to church?” Have to or want to. And, the difference in that spirit is the difference one gets out of worship. The “have to’s” get out as soon as they can. They’ve done their duty and now it’s on to the things that they really want to do. Get worship out of the way and get on to fun things. The ‘want to’s’ love being in worship and they love being around those who want to worship. Joy or drudgery? Love or dread? Want to or have to. That’s the key to making worship what it ought to be.
First, this is a thought process. Rather than focusing upon what we have to do and with that longing for it to be over as quick as possible, our minds shift to what we GET TO DO. Looking at things differently changes everything.
· We get to be in the presence of God. We get to talk to God. We get to honor God. When we look at it that way, worship changes. Imagine spending a little time when a world famous person. How wonderful that would be. How excited we would be. How nervous we might be. And, whoever that world famous person is, God is greater. God covers all history. Noah talked to this same God. Abraham talked to this same God. Paul, Peter and even Jesus, talked to this same Heavenly Father. He loves you. He wants you to follow His will. He longs for you to spend forever with Him in Heaven.
· We get to look into the heart of God as we read the Bible. It is His will for us. We come to know God and understand God. Of all the things we could purchase, God’s word, the Bible, is most incredible. It’s a treasure. It’s powerful. It’s personal. And, it’s not locked away in a museum. You have it. Simply incredible.
· Once, we get our thinking switched from ‘have to,’ to ‘want to,’ to ‘get to,’ then we must work on our children. “Do we have to go to church?” is something many kids ask. They may not see the value. They may not appreciate things deeply. But impressing upon them the ‘get to’ mode will help.
· Once a congregation develops that thinking of “get to” attendance rises. So many think that all that is required is Sunday morning. Some, even shorten that by leaving as soon as the Lord’s Supper is over. Did what was commanded, and nothing more is obligated, is the way some think. What a poor attitude and sour relationship with the Lord. Why spend as little time with God as possible? Would you want Him to do that with you? We get to worship. And, once in a while, there are special events, such as meetings, Saturday studies, or studies during the week that can open our eyes to the wonderful Scriptures. Through these, our faith grows. Our connections with others strengthens. It’s wonderful occasions to excel spiritually.
· Throughout this world, there are many, many disciples who would love to be in your shoes. They would love to be part of a congregation that offers so much. Blogs. Podcasts. Studies during the week. Printed class material. So much wealth of information. So many wonderful tools to learn, grow and become. And, many just let those things go by. They’d rather sit at home and watch TV. The ‘want to,’ and the ‘get to,’ simply isn’t there for some folks. And, in time it shows. It is seen in weak faith, weak families, doubts, fear and worry. All of those can easily be conquered if one pours himself into all the opportunities around him spiritually.
Simon of Cyrene had to carry the cross of Jesus. The Roman soldiers “pressed him,” or compelled him to do that. Had he resisted, he may have been struck down violently. He carried the cross because he had to. For us, it’s a matter of “get to.” We get to take care of our family. We get to see to the needs of our aging parents. We get to worship the God of Heaven and Earth. We get to be the light of the world.
When that ‘have to,’ becomes ‘get to,’ things sure look differently. Maybe it’s time we put some thought into what we are thinking about.