By Matt Tullos
Stewardship Development Specialist, TBMB
You and I came to the celebration late, but we are invited to stay for eternity and as we worship, God begins to teach us new concepts, new subtleties, new songs. What is God teaching you as you worship? Here are a few things He’s been teaching me.
(1) When we worship, life becomes a festival rather than a contest. Not a show. Never a show. The greatest worship occurs when we turn the tables. The congregation is performing for God. We aren’t the audience. The pastor, the soloists, choir (or the band) are not the centerpiece of authentic worship. Jesus becomes the focus and our desire is to hear His applause.
(2) When we worship, it spills over into our lifestyle and our family budget. We begin to appreciate simplicity over the complexity of accumulation. It wasn’t ours in the first place, so we don’t have to fight to own it. It’s best given away. Worship is all about seeing the bigger picture. In truth, that’s what the Cooperative Program is about.
It’s the believer and the church giving back to God so that the gospel will be told in places we might never see or experience. Some might say generosity complicates life. I would argue that generosity does just the opposite.
Accumulation makes life complex and arduous. When we give away, life becomes less difficult. We need fewer locks, less maintenance, fewer statements, less paperwork and we have fewer regrets. We can whittle life down to important things and we see that the best things in life are not found at Amazon.com.
(3) When we worship, God invites us to take a step closer to Him. He challenges us to worship one minute more, give one more thing away, encourage one more person. We do this not out of our desire for approval or blessing but because life will make more sense and because we need to experience Him … one step closer every day.
(4) When we worship, we see more clearly. His presence is palpable and mysteriously real. When silence is found in our worship, we sense and apprehend the mystery of incarnation. It grabs us and we want it more. And the things of this world really do dim in the light of His glory and grace.
(5) When we worship, we see that we are all in recovery. We are all broken. Even the most beautiful, well-read, popular, intelligent, successful achievers are struggling today.
When we worship, we intentionally surround ourselves with hurting, needy people. The recovering drug addict, the guy who had an awful marriage and worked to make it functional, the kid who grew up in a dysfunctional family, the person who has a chronic disease, the woman who experienced sexual abuse, the guy who was unemployed for three months, the kid with Down Syndrome, the family whose house was robbed while they were on vacation, the former stripper, the couple that faced infertility, the guy who went for help for his addiction to porn, the blind guy, the man who lost his wife, the grandmother who lost connection with her grandchildren, the child of alcoholic parents, the parents of an autistic child, the falsely accused.
I believe everybody – even atheists, need to be around real, authentic, passionate worshipers because it’s the very best community anyone could ever imagine. And our worshipers should welcome atheists with open arms because we’ve all started out disconnected from God.
I look forward to Sundays. It is the highlight of my week. I’m reminded of the grace of Jesus and that the worship never ends.