By Glenn Metts
Pastor, Shiloh Baptist Church, Seymour
Focal Passage: Isaiah 58:1-12
One truth is clear as we dive into this week’s Scripture and lesson. When my heart has been transformed by the gospel of Christ it should reflect not only in how I worship, but also in how I see people and respond to them.
Our lesson relates this message, “The one true God is just; He expects His people to demonstrate their faith through right living.”
As we study this week’s Scripture it becomes imperative that we wrestle through what genuine worship looks like and how it leads us to live our lives daily. Isaiah was writing to a people that were going through the motions of worship.
However, their hearts were not engaged in a relationship with God that so changed them that they in turn lived out their faith daily. Our lesson writer stated, “It is possible to be involved in the right kinds of activities and still not be right with God.”
As I read those words, I can’t help but think about our churches today. When we consider our own worship, does our love for the Lord and His Word shape every part of our lives and how we live and treat others?
I remember a story I read about a church that had an unexpected guest one day. After the church had gathered and the service had begun, a stranger entered the back door of the church. He had long hair, he was dressed in jeans and an old T-shirt. He was bare footed. As he came in, he looked for a place to sit but no one would move over to let him sit down. People just stared. No one said anything to him. They could hardly believe he came to church dressed like that.
The young stranger wandered all the way to the front of the church, and not finding a place to sit, he sat up front in the aisle, right in front of the pulpit. No one moved or knew what to do. The preacher wasn’t really sure what to do either. At that time, one of their wise and elderly deacons, got up from his seat and walked down the aisle. Everyone was sure he was going to tell the young stranger he couldn’t sit there and would have to find somewhere else to sit.
But, to their surprise the wise and godly deacon pulled up his pants legs a bit and slowly squatted down and sat down beside the young stranger on the floor. He looked up at the preacher who just witnessed the greatest sermon he had ever seen, and said, “We’re ready now.” Oh friend, we sit in church and we listen to the preaching and teaching of God’s Word. We hear of God’s love and how we should love. We may have our daily quiet time faithfully. But the question is, “Has our heart truly engaged with worshiping and knowing Jesus, and living our lives accordingly? Are we so thankful for God’s amazing grace that we desire to share God’s love with people all around us and even to the ends of the earth?
The more we love and worship the Lord by engaging our hearts and not just going through the motions, the more we will begin to see people and the needs around us as Jesus does.
As Jesus told the woman at the well in John 4, true worshipers will worship Him in spirit and in truth. That lady got up from the well and went to her town and told everyone of Jesus and her encounter with the One who changed her life.
I pray that our own worship is fresh, dynamic and continues to mold us into the very image of Jesus. May we love as He loves. May we be His hands and feet to those in need around us.