Thursday, April 27, 2006

It's Not About The Tangibles

“Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father.’” John

When I bought my house a couple years back, I learned pretty quickly how to maneuver around in the dark. I’m talking “can’t see my hand in front of my face” dark. At times I had to get up and help the kids as they tried to get downstairs for a midnight potty trip, or to comfort them when they were frightened about something. Though I could make my way around without hitting a wall or stubbing a toe, I never knew what might lie on the floor in total darkness that could be a tripping hazard, and some toy left on the floor that would hurt to step on (it hurt’s, believe me!). Sure, I can get around, but I much prefer some light. I want to tangibly see what’s around me or in my path before I step on it.

The verse I pulled out of the fourth chapter of John focuses on a Samaritan woman who was centered on tangibles as well. At her encounter with Jesus, she had a tough time grasping onto anything spiritual. First it was the water to quench a raging thirst, but the water Jesus spoke of was spiritual. The spiritually dry can’t quench that thirst using natural means. That’s why folks today try everything to get the satisfaction they need with things like work, education, money, sex or drugs. It’s kind of like trying to power an electric appliance by pouring gasoline on it. It just doesn’t do the trick.

Then, once the lady found out that Jesus was a man of God, she started talking about worship. Perhaps she was on the right track, but she was still thinking of the tangible. “We Samaritans think we should worship on this mountain, you Jewish people say we need to worship in Jerusalem”. In other words, worship is about physical location. Jesus corrected her ignorant notion of what real worship is. That is my focus for today.

As I quoted the text at the beginning, Jesus let this poor soul know that it isn’t about the locale. Worship is a spiritual thing. All too much, we make this same mistake. We attribute God’s blessings to certain places. A few years ago, during the Brownsville Revival in Pensacola, Florida, people would come from all over the country, and even the world, to experience what God was doing there. It was a glorious time. And pastors would go, see how they operated, and said, “If I only do this, and move the keyboard here, and preach like this, God will show up like at Brownsville”. But worship isn’t about how the drums and keyboards are set up. Some people feel that we aren’t truly worshipping unless their favorite music is played, and their favorite preacher preaches. Some say they can’t worship unless the service is traditional, others say it has to be contemporary for them to worship. So now many churches try to appease everyone by having multiple services that cater to everyone’s tastes. While I won’t really speak to that, I think that we are missing the point of true worship. Worship isn’t about the tangible things. Jesus said that we must worship God in spirit and in truth. It is a spiritual thing, done according to the truth of God.

Also, we must realize that worship isn’t simply an event. Biblical worship is a lifestyle. To worship is to express to God just how much he means to us, to declare to him his worth. That isn’t just done verbally and in song on Sunday morning. It’s done in our lives. It’s done through living a life that is pleasing to God. Things like being a person of integrity. It’s done through having a consistent, godly character. It’s done through loving others as Christ loves us. We worship the Lord with our very lives. That’s why Jesus said to “love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and strength”.

It’s no wonder this woman kept zeroing in on the tangible things. She needed to be born again. She needed to be confronted in her sin. She was an adulteress, and only after the Lord called her sin out, did she start to have her spiritual eyes opened. Paul said that natural, unregenerate man can’t understand spiritual truths (1 Cor. 2:14). She was what we would say is a “carnal” person. That’s why it’s so disheartening to see God’s people operating in that kind of attitude.

So, that is my study for today. I pray that you are blessed by it. God bless, friends!


ruthrap said...

what we can hold in our hands is not near as important as what we can hold in our hearts--thanks for your reminder--by the way just wanted to say you have an awesome blog!

michigan preacher said...

You are so right. We spend so much of our lives chasing after things that really have no eternal significance, don't we? That's why I don't care for much of the TV Christianity that's out there. I'm more interested in pleasing God and being rich toward him than getting rich here on earth. (But, if God wants to make me rich, I won't complain!LOL)

Thank you for your kind words about my blog. I try to make it interesting! God bless.


The 6 Karns' said...

Pastor Jeff...I'm telling you - you are right on with what our Pastor (Darrell) has been preaching / teaching / blogging, etc.

We are to LIVE in worship. God created us to WORSHIP HIM. That doesn't mean go around shopping at the grocery store singing loud praises to HIM. Even I would think that was strange...but it does mean to go to the same check out clerk (if you can) and build a relationship with her(him). Pastor spoke on that some time back (maybe a year?) and I've done that very thing! It's amazing when this girl who isn't very friendly with ANYONE sees me - and smiles and knows I'm coming to her lane. (Hindsight - maybe she's sees the LOAD of grocerys for the 6 of us and smiles, then cries...hmmm). Anyway. It's nice to say, "Hi, Jeanne". And to carry on a conversation with her - because I'm interested in her. That's all a part of what "Worship" means. Building relationships.

When you enter in to worship with God - your relationship deepens with Him. It's not going to stay the same!