Have you ever noticed people at a college football game? When their team runs on the field they cheer. When their band plays, they clap and sing along. When their team scores a touchdown and wins the game, then all bets are off as to how excited the fans will be.
In fact, some people get so excited over their team that they can barely contain themselves on Saturdays while at the football stadium.
However, when you take these same people to church on Sunday, they barely speak to anyone, they won’t sing songs or hymns, they never clap along with the band, and when the pastor makes a particularly good point in his sermon, rather than say “Amen,” they yawn and look at their watches. Where is the excitement? Where is the praise? Where is the joy?
A little boy had attended church on Sunday morning with his parents for the first time in a while. That night he knelt to say his prayers before going to bed. The little fella prayed, “Dear Lord, I sure had a good time at church today. I sure wish you could have been there!”
Wow! No truer words have ever been spoken. When we were created by God, we were created to worship Him. The word worship is literally translated as “worth-ship.” We are to live our lives to prove God’s worth-ship, and that He alone is worthy of our praise. I’ve been thinking about why we give God so very little worship in our daily lives.
The Bible indicates that we should praise and worship God in all things. This means our family should bring praise to God, our jobs should be of worship to God, as well as our finances, words, thoughts, actions, and motivations. But still, our lives give God so very little worship.
Two summers ago, a young boy came up to me at the end of VBS and said, “Preacher, I like coming to your church better than granny’s church.” I said to him, “Well thank you (and called his name). Why do you like this church better?” Very seriously, he said to me, “Because ya’ll clap in this church. Nobody at granny’s church gives God a clap. I think He likes it!” What a profound statement from a second grader!
God loves the applause of our lives. The applause of our lives is worship to our God. Now let us admit how this is a marvelous thought to grasp. No wonder the Psalmist says, “I will extol the LORD at all times; his praise will always be on my lips (Psalm 34:1).” He also says in Psalm 47:1, “Come, everyone! Clap your hands! Shout to God with joyful praise!”
I am afraid that we allow much of the applause of our lives that should go to God actually come to us instead.
Let’s admit it, shall we? Humility is not our strong point most of the time.
Sometimes, even while serving God, we have those who come to us, pat us on the backs, tell us what a good job we are doing, and turn the spotlight of praise on us.
The great temptation for us is to step into that spotlight and take for ourselves the applause that belongs only to God. This tempts me and it probably tempts you too. We must stop living our lives as if worshiping God does not matter. He deserves our very best. In return, God’s Word teaches that He pours His blessings into our lives to such a degree that we cannot contain them all (Luke 6:38).
Let me challenge you to give God the applause of your life and to point the applause of others to Him as well. All we have and all we are is a direct result of God’s blessings. Let’s give Him the applause of our lives through our giving, in prayer, our witness, and through our song. Let’s each give Him applause on our jobs, with our testimonies, in our families and as we serve others. We have many reasons to get excited and praise the Lord! B&R — Hallmark is pastor of First Baptist Church, Lexington.