Worship that costs us nothing
I saw that book, “Why men hate going to church” advertised in Koorong again this week. I find the title rather annoying. After all I’m sure that not all men hate going to church and I expect there are quite a few women who hate going to church too. Another thing that is annoying is that most church leaderships that I have been involved with are dominated by men so if they think there is a problem why haven’t they fixed it? Probably it is an American book, perhaps things are different there.
It makes me think about sequels, “Why introverts hate going to church”; “Why artistic/creative people hate going to church” etc. etc. Perhaps the problem is to do with our expectations of a church service.
We buy comfortable chairs for our churches, install heating for winter, air conditioning for summer, buy good instruments and data projectors all to make our worship experience more comfortable and while there is nothing wrong with heaters and fans, I wonder if it effects our expectations. We expect our worship experience to be easy and comfortable.
The first time David brought the ark back to Jerusalem he put it on a cart. When disaster struck he realized he had done the wrong thing and the next time he made the Levites (priests) carry it using poles on their shoulders in the way that God had outlined. So why did David use a cart the first time? The ark was overlaid with gold it was very heavy and secondly it was being moved a long way. A cart was an easy and comfortable solution, but God was not pleased. Sometimes worship is hard work and God does not want us to take short cuts. At the end of 2 Samuel David wants to buy Araunah’s threshing floor to build an altar to the Lord. Araunah offers it to David for free along with whatever else he needs for the offering but David says, “No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.” I wonder how often our worship costs us nothing.
Does this mean we should all go and join the Amish people, getting rid of electricity and all our creature comforts? No, but I do think we need to change our expectations about worship. Most of us are not in positions where we can influence the content and direction of our church services. Some days when we are sitting in a church service and our minds start to wander, let them wander to the image of the Levites carrying the ark to Jerusalem. Some days worship is not going to be easy and we are the royal priesthood (2 Peter 2:9).
One of the other things we need to consider is, if I were to win my neighbour/friend/relative to the Lord would my church be a good place for them to connect with other Christians, be instructed in the Word of God and be given opportunity to express their worship to God? I don’t think a church has to be anywhere near perfect to do these basic things. The church I went to when I first became a Christian had church services that left a lot to be desired but there were Christians there who taught me about God.
Next time we go to a church service perhaps we need to go with the attitude I’m going to worship God whatever the inconvenience, whatever the monotony, whatever the cost.