Dollar Store Worship
    Some years ago I was on a plane going to be with family for Christmas.  Across the aisle from me was a young girl doing the same.  I so clearly remember something she said to her friend in the midst of their conversation.  She told the friend that she had done all of her Christmas shopping for her family at a dollar store.  She seemed quite pleased about that.  I remember wondering at the time just how pleased would she be if her family had done the same for her.  I doubt very much that her expectations of return were anywhere near so low as what it was she gave.  I think there is a great correlation here with the western church.  If worship of Him is to be our lifestyle, how much of it would qualify as "Dollar Store Worship?" When we come to Him, is what we offer Him on the altar of worship of the same kind of value as that young girls in relation to what it is we expect of Him in return?  Maybe it comes down to just what it is we define as "worship."

     Definitions, especially as constructed by us, really do shape everything.  Some years back, a President was asked a very direct question, part of which contained the word "it."  His response was that it all depended upon how one defined the word "it."  For you and I then, everything will depend upon just how we define worship.  Jesus said that those who worship Him must "worship Him in spirit and in truth."  He made clear in all of His teaching that worship is an offering of all of ourselves all of the time to all of the Father.  Most of us will not dispute His words on that, but I think we, like the president, would like to respond with "it depends on how we define all."  

     I think in so many ways we have reduced worship in the church to a process of negotiation.  We calculate just how much it is we're willing to give to Him in order to get the largest return on what He'll give back to us.  In other words, how little can we invest in Him in order to receive the maximum amount of His blessing.  The negotiation then becomes a matter of finding out how much time in His Word must we spend, how often should we be in church, how much must we give, of time, energy, money, in service.  We've already got in mind just what those amounts are, and we're hoping that somehow, He'll settle for even less.  Not only is this not worship, it's not even life.
    More and more, I am finding worship to be the giving of all of my life to Him, and the receiving of all of His Life in me.  It is the decrease of me, and the increase of Him in me.  It is less and less about being blessed, and more and more about discovering that it is He that is the blessing.  It is less and less about how it makes me feel, and more and more about how it please Him, and then discovering the true joy to be found in that.  It is about dying more and more to self, and living more and more in Him.  It is more and more about what the old chorus says, forgetting about me, and magnifying Him.  The thing is, none of these truths can be found in the Dollar Store of worship.  If we continue to shop there, we'll continue to live on "empty" spiritually.  Negotiations will go on, definitions will still be constructed, and we will miss the joy He sets before us.  Are you going to the Dollar Store today?

Blessings,
Pastor O
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