How Do You Worship?

So this past weekend was a discipleship weekend for the middle and high schoolers entitled: “Wake-up Weekend.” 

The students showed up on Friday night loaded down with suitcases, pillows, sleeping bags, snacks, notebooks and Bibles.  The music was already rocking and by the time check in was complete there were close to 150 students there.  The students stayed in host homes on Friday and Saturday nights and then came back to the church to have Bible study times, worship, and work on a service project.

The service project was a pretty amazing undertaking.  The students, led by a group of adult volunteers, were going to build over fifty walls that would be formed together to build a house for a family in need.  Each group got a schematic of the wall, the pre-cut pieces, buckets full of hammers and nails, and away they went.  It was a beautiful sound to hear the simultaneous banging of hammers and nails echoing across the church parking lot.  This part of the project lasted from 10:30 in the morning and by about 5:45 we had the last wall standing up and tacked together with the other walls to show the outline of the structure. 

As impressive as that was, I have a story that is even more reflective of what the weekend was all about.

About mid-afternoon when everyone was starting to get a little tired, one of the volunteers came to me and got my attention.  Off on the far side of the parking lot, separate from where the work was taking place, a middle school aged boy was hammering nails into some wood by himself.  He wasn’t working on any part of the project, he simply had a couple scraps of wood and was pounding nails into them.  The volunteer asked me to go talk to him and let him know that there was plenty of work for him to do and that he was wasting nails.  I got busy with something else, so I never had the chance to talk to him.

As the day wound down and the last of the walls went up, I saw the boy carrying something toward the newly formed house.  It turns out that he had taken two scraps of wood, nailed them together in the shape of the cross and attached them to a base. 

He carried that cross over and set it in the shadow of the house we had just built.

It was a very touching moment.  You see, it seemed that he was wasting time and materials, when really, he was worshipping the King.  In his own way, he was drawing attention to the reason we were there.

It was a reminder of the story of Mary and Martha.  Sometimes we can get so busy doing the work, that we forget to do the worship.  I would encourage you to remember the One you serve as you go about in Serving. 

Without worship, service can become drudgery and we miss the point of why we are there in the first place. 

Extravagant Worship

“Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.”  John 12:3

As we examine this passage in the last week of Jesus’ life, this verse is clearly pointed to as a way that Mary chose to worship Jesus.  Judas is rebuked for his false concern about where the money could be spent and Jesus tells Judas in verse 8, “Leave her alone…you will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”

I can imagine how this played out:  everyone was probably milling about, waiting for the meal to be served.  Maybe Jesus was talking or relaxing.  Suddenly a strong pleasant smell filled the room.  Before anyone could stop her, Mary had poured out a perfume that would have been worth a year’s wages.  As Mary wiped the excess perfume with her hair, the people in the room would have begun to look and realized what had been done.  Most people would have had the same reaction, that she wasted a lot of expensive perfume.  Only Judas was bold enough to say it, because he was looking out for himself. 

There is a point that we should take from this though.  It involves the way we choose to worship our Lord.  Mary chose to worship extravagantly.  She thought nothing of the cost to herself or her family.  She only knew that she loved Jesus and she may have realized that her times to worship him at his feet were coming quickly to an end.  She reacted to this opportunity by giving him all that she had at great cost to herself.

So, what is the application to our own lives?  Perhaps it is to reflect on the way we worship.  I am not talking here about what we give financially, although there is a lesson there too.  Rather, I am talking about the way we worship with our lives.  We don’t have the opportunity to sit at the feet of Jesus.  So we must worship him in different ways.  We worship him with our time.  The way we spend our time says a lot about the way we worship.  How much time do you give to Jesus each week?  Is it the few hours you make it to church each week or is it more?  The way we treat others around us can be an opportunity to worship.  Notice how Jesus treated the weary and downtrodden.  How do you treat those around you?  Do you even see them or do you pass them by in too much of a hurry to notice?  Finally, do you worship, as Mary did, without regard to cost?  Again, not the monetary cost, but maybe it costs you in other ways.  Did you miss out on a promotion at work because you were not like everyone else?  Do you get funny stares at restaurants when you pray before your meal?  Have you given up something that you may have enjoyed because you knew it wasn’t what God would have you do? 

If so, then continue to worship extravagantly.  I promise you, He is worth the cost of whatever you have to give.

Lord Jesus, help me to worship you extravagantly!  Give me a desire for the things that please you and an ability to worship you in a way that is as pleasing and fragrant as the perfume that Mary poured on your feet.  Thank you for loving us so much even when we don’t worship you as we should.  In your name, Amen.