Sometimes we crawl into worship on Sunday morning. Frankly, it’s all we can do to get up out of bed in the morning after the week (or weekend) we’ve just had. We can’t wait to escape the world and be encouraged and uplifted. We need to hear that familiar song and be empowered by that inspiring message. The last thing we want is for this to be the week the pastors decided to do something “creative.” Why do they keep rearranging the chairs? What’s with the light show? Why does the guitarist always look like his dog just died? Did they really need to move the cross again? For once, can’t something be dependable? Why do they make it so hard for me to worship? My friend Karen said something really insightful this week. She said, “You bring your worship with you.”
You know, in the Old Testament, that’s exactly what they did. They sacrificed their resources to secure an offering that would be a tangible representation of their need for a savior and they brought it with them to sacrifice at the altar. There, they laid it down in an act of penitent humility. They knew that they could not come empty-handed to the altar and expect their righteous God to be pleased with them.
I know what you’re thinking. Christ has offered himself as a sacrifice once and for all for our sin debt, but this doesn’t give us an excuse to show up empty-handed to the altar. Paul encourages us to offer ourselves as living sacrifices as an act of worship, not so that God will forgive our sins, but because He already has. This is a time to bring Him the good, the bad, and the ugly, and to say, “I give it all to You. You paid for it, now what do You want me to do with it?” It’s true that we bring that hard week with us to worship: the financial struggles, the marital spats, and the adolescent dramas; all of it. But with it, we should also bring the recognition of God’s abundant grace, an attitude of humility before God and man, and a posture that says, “I am a grateful child of God here to worship Him among His people.”
Our prayer while we are planning worship services is that we are creating an environment where the altar is big enough for everyone to come to lay their burdens down and pick up the yoke that is light. If something is different this week, ask God to reveal to You His divine desire for your worship through it Or in spite of it. God is much bigger than our services, but we always hope that our offering as planners is something that He is pleased to use in your lives. We are confident that if you are willing to bring it all with you and lay it all down at the cross, you’ll never walk away from worship empty handed again.