I’m preaching on worship today at a church in Southwest Mississippi. A few weeks ago when the pastor asked for my subject, I quickly said “worship is a verb” for a title of the message. Hardly without a thought. This is a big deal with me, I thought. God is working on this in me. I’ve preached and written on it before. I know some basic texts and have one huge burden on the subject, namely, that most Christians I know have it backward and think worship is all about “me.” Then, as often happens, when I began preparing and praying for the message, I realized just how little I actually know on the subject. God help me.
1) God wants His children to worship. In fact, He wants “everything, everywhere” to worship Him.
In Revelation, at the climax of all history, the praise chorus will include “every creature in heaven, on earth, under the earth, on the sea and everything in them” (Revelation 5:13). No wonder Scripture says, “Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord” (Psalm 150:6).
I wouldn’t be surprised if finally “the rocks cry out” (Luke 19:40).
2) The question of “why” God wants us to worship Him nags at a lot of people.
Not me personally, but it clearly does some people.
C.S. Lewis used to struggle with the idea of an infinite God almost begging for worship from His subjects, like a puny potentate who needed the constant reinforcing of his subjects’ loyalty.
Eventually, Lewis came to see that God does not “need” anything from us, and our failure to worship Him takes nothing from Him. He would write, “A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word ‘darkness’ on the walls of his cell.”
God does not need our worship any more than the Pacific needs the water in this bottle beside my laptop, or the moon needs another crater. Or Mercury is hurting for a little more sunlight.
3) God does not need anything from me.
Poor God. Sitting up there in Heaven, wanting so desperately to have the adoration of puny earthlings and not getting it.
That is laughable. No wonder people reject that image; it is so skewed as to be ridiculous. God needs nothing from me.
“If I were hungry, I would not ask you. The cattle on a thousand hills is mine” (Psalm 50:10-12).
4) Worship is “unto the Lord.” It’s not all about me.
And yet, listen to the average church-goer entering and exiting the house of worship.
“I hope I get something out of this service today.” “I didn’t get anything out of Reverend Buster’s sermon.” “I got a lot out of the Bible lesson.” “We’re going to join because we like this church.” “We will not be back because no one spoke to us.”
As though it were all about us. Pastors have been terminated because church members concluded they were not being “fed.” \ As though the worship were all about themselves.
God help us.