Jump Starts Daily

Jump Start #3530

Jump Start # 3530

Psalms 100: 2 “Serve the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful singing.”

  I recently began a class with the following:   “It’s another Wednesday night. It’s been a long day. Yet, we have gathered here at the church building for another midweek worship service. We know that we ought to have the feelings of the Psalmist who joyfully proclaimed, “I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord’” (Ps 122:1). And, though we’d never want to admit it, sometimes our soul says, as in Malachi, “My how tiresome it is” (Mal 1:13). Or, as Peterson states it, “I’m bored, this doesn’t do anything for me.”

  The class is about expectations. We dove into the subject of “The Expectations of Worship.” This is something that we believers need to revisit every once in a while. We forget. We get sidetracked. We focus more on ourselves than we ought to. We drag into the church building tired, grumpy, worried and upset and after spending an hour in the presence of the Lord, we much too often leave the same way. It’s hard to sing, “I’m happy today,” when happiness is the least of our moods. It’d be more accurate to sing, “I’m bothered today,” or, “I’m stressed today,” or, “I’m just in a sour mood today.”

 We do a pretty good job of putting on a smile and forcing ourselves to go through the motions of worship, but Peterson’s take on Malachi sure sounds familiar, “…this doesn’t do anything for me.” And, it doesn’t take very long for that spirit to become lukewarm and lifeless. Then we find ourselves attending out of habit, or guilt or just to see our friends. Somewhere in all of this, God has been left out.

  The other day as I was going on a walk. One of my neighbors had several boxes sitting out for the trash. In one box was multiple trophies. I saw one for football. I saw one for baseball. At one time, I expect those trophies were held in high honor as the sweet victories were celebrated. They likely were displayed proudly on shelves in a bedroom. But now, they were in a box awaiting the garbage collector. As I walked past those shiny trophies I wondered if we have done that with God. Once God was so important, held in high esteem. We displayed God proudly in our hearts. But time has passed by, and today, God is no longer high on our shelves within our hearts.

  Our word “worship” comes to us from the Latin and it means ‘Worth-ship.’ It’s about value or worth. In worship, we are asking, “What does God mean to you?” Value is based upon three elements. First, how rare something is. One of a kind, is going to be expensive. Second, how much it cost to make something. My first car was a Vega. It didn’t cost much. I have driven a Ferrari, very expensive. Third, value is based upon what something means to you. My office is adorned with pictures of people and places I’ve been to. I have several pictures of my dear dad. If I tried to sell those, I wouldn’t get anything for them. But to me, they are priceless.

  What does God mean to you? That’s what worship is.

  Now, there are three concepts wrapped around worship.

  First, worship is individual. Although we can sit in a church building full of people, worship comes from my heart. No one can worship for you. You may not be able to make a wedding. You send your gift with someone else and with the wishes for a happy wedding. You may not be able to make a graduation open house. You send a gift and “best wishes” to the graduate. That idea doesn’t work in worship. Sorry, I can’t make it, so, I’ll send a gift and tell the Lord, “I love you.” Worship is individual. Two people sitting side by side on a pew, and one may worship and the other has just “gone to church,” as we say. Worship comes from the heart and no one else can do that for you.

  Second, worship is something that you offer God. When I hear someone say, “I didn’t get anything out of worship today,” I’ll ask, “What did you bring to worship?” It’s not what I get, but what I gave. Worship is honoring and praising our wonderful Lord. Most times in our Bibles, worship is a verb, an action word. It’s something you do. We’ve changed the concept from a participation to a spectator format. Entertain me. Keep me awake. Make me feel happy. All of that is looking the wrong direction. Worship first and foremost needs to be pointed upwards to our Lord.

  Third, worship involves your attitude. That’s why we find expressions such as sing with thankfulness or give cheerfully. Thankfulness and cheerfulness are attitudes. So, anything that impacts my attitude will impact my worship. If I’m tired, bothered, worried, angry then my worship will be altered and colored that way.

  What a joy it is to know that the God of Heaven is interested in anything that I do. How fascinating it is to know that I can please the Lord through worship. Worship is always defined by God. He never tells us to surprise Him, or be original. When worship doesn’t follow what God has said it will insult Him.

  What you do before worship can help or hurt your attitude and approach to worship. Get in the frame of mind that you are honoring the God that loves you so much. He has blessed you, forgiven you, and taken care of you. Just a passing, “Thanks,” isn’t enough. Don’t be distracted by others around you. Focus upon the Lord.

  Then, even tired, bothered, or stressed, we find comfort and joy in knowing how great our God is. Reading passages such as Psalms 100 before you enter worship will help. Our God is the best. Our God deserves your best.