(Originally written, September, 2007)
“What’s Love Got To Do With It?”
Over the last couple of months, we’ve established a few things about worship: (1) we are all worshippers – worship is our response to what we value most; (2) we are all called to be missionaries, telling others about the love of Jesus Christ; (3) our obedience to God’s commands is one of the primary ways in which we can worship Him. Last month, we looked at the Great commission and God’s command to go and make disciples, but is that all there is? Does God require more of us than just making disciples?
As we read Matthew’s Gospel, we get the feeling that the Sadducees and Pharisees are going around trying to trip up Jesus and make Him say something to condemn Himself. In the 22nd Chapter of this Gospel, we read that the Sadducees had just tried to trick Jesus on the issue of the resurrection when the Pharisees come to Jesus, asking, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the law?” Jesus responds, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” With these two, Jesus has summed up the whole law and all the prophets, the scriptures tell us.
The first one seems like a no-brainer. Worship is all about this: loving our God with everything that we are. We worship God with our time by setting aside time each week to spend in corporate worship and private prayer. We worship God with our money by setting aside a tenth of everything He has given us to give back to Him. We worship God with our minds by studying the Word and hiding it within our hearts. We worship God with our talents by using them to build up the church. All in all, I think we know this one pretty well.
Sadly, many have allowed their worship to be dominated exclusively by the first command while forgetting the second. A hymn that we use in our services chides us, “If our hearts are lifted where devotion soars / High above this hungry suffering world of ours: / Lest our hymns should drug us to forget its needs / Forge our Christian worship into Christian deeds.” Our worship on Sunday is fueled by our worship Monday through Friday. Do you want to see a church that is blazing with the presence of the Holy Spirit? Do you want to see a church making an eternal difference every single day in our community? Do you want to experience the kind of worship that shakes you to your inner core, changing the way that live?
I’ve got news for you – it doesn’t start on Sunday morning. Worship like that starts on Monday as you’re walking through your neighborhood and come across that neighbor who is shut-in or going through a hard time. Worship like that starts on Tuesday when you step into your workplace and are faced with that co-worker who couldn’t give a flip about God. It starts on Wednesday as you fall to your knees in intercession for those who are hurting. It starts on Thursday as you go to school and sit beside friends that are only living for today, recklessly running toward terrible consequences. Or on Friday as you volunteer in the homeless shelter for those who are struggling. It starts on Saturday as you set aside time for family and invest in the future of your kids and grandkids.
Worship like that starts when we stop throwing up prayers, hoping that God might somehow answer them and start putting hands and feet to our own requests. It starts when we get beyond loving God with our words and start loving Him by loving others.
“…if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” 1 John 3:17-18