I’ve been on a quest for months now. The longer I walk with God, the more I desire to return the love He lavishes on me. The more time I spend involved in a church community, the more I desire us to corporately make our worship more, for lack of a better word, worshipful. More holy, I guess. More about our Lord and less about us…or me. More what God, the Receiver, desires and less what I, or we, think He desires. And less about filling me up, and more about emptying.
I am surrounded by a culture absorbed with the idea that to celebrate the ultimate Gift given to humankind, one does a parallel service of material gifting to loved ones. It’s a beautiful concept, really, despite the excessive glitz and bangles that come with it. The concept is true, and right. It’s a demonstration of love, and being so, it is very much what God does with us. Being created in His image, like Him, we have a heart with a great capacity to love and appreciate being loved. It is natural that we would want to demonstrate that love with whatever means we have.
I am an uncomfortable gifter. I love giving. I am grateful for the opportunity to give. I desire to give, but when it comes down to the actual choosing and committing to a gift, I often am full of indecision, awkwardness, self-doubt, and procrastination. I function best when someone gives me a list, or voices a specific desire. Then I know the receiver will be satisfied. They will receive what they want, not what I think they want or need. The gift will reflect them, and my knowledge of who they are.
So back to my ponderings about worship…
I found a list.
Matthew 9:13 Go and LEARN what this means (said by Jesus to the Pharisees when He was sitting with tax collectors and sinners) “I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.”
Hosea 6:6 I desire STEADFAST LOVE and not sacrifice, the KNOWLEDGE OF GOD, not burnt offerings.
In Hebrew, the word meaning knowledge of God is da’ath— understanding, discernment
And steadfast love– loyalty, goodness, kindness, faithfulness
Micah 6: 8 He has showed you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God.
My journey these past months continues to be marked by these signposts.
I have a list.
God specifically expresses what He most desires, what He expects, what fills Him up, what pleases Him. God lets me know what returns His love to Him.
My preparations for each holiday,
each holy day,
which is every first day,
can be to craft these gifts out of my heart and life and offer them up as I work, play, celebrate, mourn, serve and come together with His church.
On the last day of the week, I can be preparing my heart for the first day of the week. Walking through the common doors,
I can approach our family time of worship
with a heart of giving,
of lifting up,
of emptying out.
I can commit to approaching corporate worship time as a time of giving, not of gathering in. I can do this, because I trust God to know exactly what I need. I give up filling myself and confidently leave that to Him, who never disappoints.
I have received full payment and have more than enough. I am amply supplied, now that I have received … the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.