The Heart of Worship
Worship. We have many types of worship and ways of worshipping. We have family worship. We have worship at church. We have worship through song. We have worship through the spoken word. We can worship with others or by ourselves. But today what has become the heart of worship? What are the things we have made worship? Why do we come to worship? Why go to church? Why go to vespers?
Some come to worship because of friends. They come to meet friends and enjoy the “fellowship” part of worship. Others come because a significant other forced them to come. Others come just because they have nothing else to do and are looking to get “points” with God.
Some wonder why they find worship services so boring. Some sit in church and think that the sermon was terrible. And when asked what it was about, they are unsure. Yet others that heard the same sermon think the sermon was pretty good and are blessed by it. Why? Why does this happen so often, especially with the youth of today? Why the vast difference of opinion?
Ellen White tells us in Christ’s Object Lessons that there are those that will receive the truth but will not be able to understand it. There are some of us that go to church for all the wrong reasons. Our minds are in some other place. We are not focused on the Lord. We are thinking about everything else because we are so preoccupied by the devil. It is he who keeps us from receiving the blessing God has in stored for us at church. We are so far from God that even when He seeks to bless us, we are unable to hear Him. We come to church looking to be really “hit” by the sermon. When that doesn’t happen, we complain that the sermon was so boring. But really, the problem is not solely with the speaker. The problem is with us.
We bring nothing to the table. We have gone the whole week without God. We didn’t take a moment to talk to Him or to learn more about Him from His Word. Yet, when we come to church we expect to have some sort of epiphany. We are only touched by the emotion of the speaker. The words, the thoughts, and the points don’t make an effect on us. It’s this simple. How can we understand something spiritual when we ourselves have no longing to be spiritual?! How can we understand something we don’t really care to understand? Nothing the speaker says will sink into our brains because it is all gibberish. We expect the pastor to somehow instill the desire to want to be spiritual. That simply doesn’t happen. That desire must be produced from within ourselves.
I know that there are those who were really touched by a pastor and their lives were turned upside down. There are those like Doug Batchelor, who didn’t even go to church and his life was changed in a cave. But there are the other majority of us who have been brought up in the church from a young age. We have been going to church pretty regularly for most of our lives. Why have we not begun to see the importance of worship? Why do we still find every sermon so useless? Is it because God doesn’t want to touch our lives? Of course not! It is we who choose to be untouched!
I believe it is because we have lost the heart of worship. We no longer come to worship because we want to learn more about God. We no longer come to worship because we want to praise Jesus. We no longer come for our Savior. We come for the friends. We come for the good-looking guys or girls. We come for everything else but Jesus. And we wonder why worship has lost its touch. Worship has not lost its touch. It us who have lost touch with worship.
Sometimes, I’ll invite people to come to a worship service and they will immediately respond, “Who else is coming?” Or if someone else is coming they don’t necessarily like, they don’t want to come. When did worship become about who is and isn’t coming? If the Lord is present, shouldn’t that be all that matters?
Friend, the heart of worship should always be Jesus Christ. If it is not, we are going to have a very hard time getting the most out of worship. We may come to a worship service and sing the songs with our lips but our hearts are somewhere else. How long will we go on like this? How long will we forget the Lord and not allow Him to mold us into what we need to be? How long will we be one-day Christians?
It is high time for us to begin taking God seriously. We cannot tarry in sin any longer. We cannot linger in the gray area forever. We cannot come to worship God with just our lips! We should, we must, come to worship Him with our hearts! The heart of worship at home is Jesus. The heart of worship at church is Jesus. The heart of worship wherever we are is Jesus! What’s the heart of worship for you? Why do you come to worship? Or why don’t you come to worship? Think about it carefully.
God wishes to bless you at every worship service. This can only become a reality if we take the time to be tuned in to His voice. To be tuned in with His Word. To be tuned in with Him! Then, we will truly see that worship is not about what the pastor brings to the pulpit. Rather, it is what we bring in our hearts! Worship the Lord because you love God and WANT to praise Him and be closer to Him. Strip everything else away because it should be all about Jesus. He is, and always should be, the Heart of worship. Is He?