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Have you ever said as you left the meetinghouse on Sunday morning, "I didn't get much out of the worship today." Just examine that statement for a moment. We are there for our group worship, the worship we are commanded to do when we are "gathered together." Who is it that we are worshipping? I don't think it's me, and I don't think it's you. When it comes to the worship aspect, I think it matters what God thinks of it, not us. We sit in an auditorium with a raised platform in front of us. Several different men take turns standing before us to lead us in various aspects of our worship to God.
Sometimes that gives us the mistaken idea that we are the audience. No, we are the performers. God is the audience, and if he "doesn't get much out of our worship," it's our fault, not his, nor that of the men who try so hard to lead us, and seldom get anything but complaints for their efforts. What would you think of a performer who gave a lackadaisical performance, who acted like he couldn't care less that someone was watching him? If I paid good money for a ticket, I would want my money back. I wonder if that's what God thinks as we "worship" by barely mumbling through our songs, daydreaming during prayers, and making faces at the babies in front of us during the sermons. I wonder if he would like to have back what it cost him for us to be able to come before him and worship him. You see, he is watching our performance; he is the audience. It doesn't really matter if I don't like the songs chosen, if I think the prayer is too long, if I think the sermon is boring. What matters is, did I worship God with all my heart in spite of those things? That's what this Audience grades us on. I don't want him to ask for a refund.
So this Sunday as I leave the meetinghouse I should ask myself this, "How well did I worship my God this morning?"
Whether or not this is all there is to my worship is another matter entirely, but this question certainly makes a good start on answering that one too, don't you think?
Saved to Become
Now when Jesus looked at [Peter], He said, "You are Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas" (which is translated, A Stone). John 1:42
Recommended Reading Matthew 16:7-19
Jerry Kramer played pro football for the Green Bay Packers under legendary coach Vince Lombardi. One day at practice during Kramer's first year, Lombardi ragged the rookie unmercifully, criticizing every move he made. By the end of practice Kramer was ready to quit. Afterward, Coach Lombardi approached Kramer, mussed up his hair, and said, "Son, one of these days you're gonna be the greatest guard in the league." Kramer said he suddenly felt 10 feet tall!
When Jesus of Nazareth first met Simon of Bethsaida, the first thing He said to the young fisherman was, "You are going to become a rock!"--the literal translation of "You shall be called Cephas." Through all of Peter's missteps and failures as a disciple, perhaps it was that seed-thought that kept him going until he became first to make known the Gospel to both the Jews and Gentiles (Acts 2:14-36; 10:1). How wonderful that God sees each of us in light of what we will become! He has promised to conform us to the image of His own Son (Romans 8:29).
Next time you look in a mirror, look beyond what you see and try to picture what God sees: the person He saved you to become. God works in us and with us, not against us or without us.
Oh Jehovah, truly I am your servant;I am your servant, the son of your handmaid. You have loosed my bonds. I will offer to you the sacrifices of thanksgiving, And will call upon the name of Jehovah. I will pay my vows unto Jehovah, Even in the presence of all his people. In the courts of Jehovah's house, In the midst of you, O Jerusalem, Praise Jehovah.
- Psalm 116:16-19
The Weekly Meditation
Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God and acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire.
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