“I DON’T GET ANYTHING OUT OF CHURCH!”
When I was pastor, one of the comments that people made that bothered me the most was when they would say, “I didn’t get anything out of that today.” They may be referring to the worship music, the sermon or the whole package. A statement like that shows reveals wrong assumptions.
Sometimes I want to say to the person, “If you come to get, you’re coming for the wrong reason. Worship is not about you and me. It’s not about getting our needs met. It’s not about a performance by the pastor, the worship leader or anyone else. When we come to get, we come for the wrong reason.” We can be guilty of consumer mentality, even when it comes to worship.
Worship is not about you or me. Worship is about God. We come to give, not to get. When we give to God by worship and prayer, He gives back to us His word and His presence. When we come to get, we don’t. When we come to give, we both give and get.
Something else is wrong when we say that we didn’t get anything out of the service. We assume we should be getting a warm, emotional feeling. We want to be passionately touched, lifted up and encouraged and made to feel better than when we entered. What if God’s purpose is to convict us? To stretch us? To cause us to go deeper in our faith? “Feeling good” may be what we desire, but it isn’t God’s ultimate purpose for us.
Don’t equate worship with an emotional high. Some Christians look for a church that will pump up their emotions. What happens the rest of the week? What happens when trials and difficulties come?
The first use of a word in the Bible is often a good indicator of what the word means. The word “worship” is first used by Abraham when he said he was taking Isaac up the mountain to sacrifice him. But he didn’t say “sacrifice,” he called what he was going to do “worship” (Genesis 22:5). It had nothing to do with him feeling good or being emotionally high. It was all about honoring God by obeying Him.
About that same time in history, Job went out on the hillside and stood at the graves of his dead children and “worshiped” (Job 1:20). Neither Job nor Abraham were experiencing an emotional high. They were both in pain. Yet they were acknowledging God’s sovereign control over their lives and they were submitting to His will. That is worship. It is a mental choice, not an emotional feeling. Feelings may follow. But then they may not.
In worship, the focus is on God not on us. In the Lord’s prayer we are told to pray, “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done” (Matthew 6:10). Not my kingdom but Your kingdom. God is not my servant who is to jump through a hoop and make me feel good when I am down. He is the Master, I am the servant. We need to keep that straight.
Remember, worship is a verb, an action word. It is something we do, not something done to us. Paul and Silas in prison, after they were beaten and put in chains, worshiped (Act 16:25).
Psalm 96:8 commands us give to the Lord the glory due His name and bring Him an offering. Psalm 51:17 says, “The sacrifices of God or a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart. These, oh God, you will not despise.” (August 22, 2022 Doylestown, PA)
Psalm 29:2 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness. (See also Psalm 95:6; 96:9)
Why not pause right now and spend some time in worship. Forget your emotions. Recognize God for who and what He is. Submit to His will. Tell Him you trust Him. Lay your burdens on Him. Give Him your heart, your love, and your life. That is true worship.
cto Rev. Dr. JERRY SCHMOYER
Christian Training Organization
(India Outreach, Spiritual Warfare, Family Ministries, Counseling, World View)
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