Monday, May 28, 2012

Four Kinds of Worshipers

"Guard your step when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools who do not know that they do wrong. Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few." (Ecclesiastes 5:1-2)

Yesterday, I preached on Ecclesiastes 5:1-7. In it, I mentioned the four kinds of worshipers who come to Church each Sunday. The basic theme is basically learning to prepare our hearts to come before an awesome God. Be awed by God. Recognize the awesomeness of God. Go out and live awesomely for God.

One of the basic peeves I have is the nonchalant or irreverent manner some people come to worship. During the singing, I notice that many do not sing. Some sing only certain pet favourites while others simply shun the entire singing. I put together four images of the different kinds of worshipers we typically see.

1) INDIVIDUALISTIC (I obey what I pick)

Instead of being humble and open to worship God, there are some worshipers who simply choose what songs to sing, when to sing, and the choices are made on the sole basis of personal preference. They hum when they want. They are easily irritated by the one next to them who happen to be singing too loud. Some even get easily upset when the Powerpoint slides are out of order, or of a different shade from their personal liking. Instead of their love for God that determines the level of their singing, they depend on their own moods as a primary gear control. Such people pick and choose what they want to sing. Individual preferences triumph.

2) SUPERIORISTIC (I Pick God Obey)

This second group of worshipers is worse than the first kind. Here, God become their servant or genie. Instead of worshiping God, their basic measurement of worship is by self-experience. Songs are there to uplift them, instead of them lifting God up in praises together with the rest of the congregation. It is an attitude of telling God,

"You better be grateful I even bothered to come in the first place!"

Such a superiority attitude puts God as slave, while personal preference is master. This is typical of the busy high achiever, who comes to church only because they expect something to be done for them.


The third group of worshipers is the one who is uninvolved at all. These people can be spouses who are unwilling to come to church in the first place, or children forced by their parents to come. They come with an attitude that mirrors their lack of concern for anything associated with God or with Church. Some come basically to wait for the after service refreshments, or to meet friends. Some even see the worship service as merely a precursor to their main event: Lunch!


The fourth group of worshiper is the learner. This kind of worshiper asks God to grant them a refreshing newness in things of old. They do not see old stories as boring or nothing new to be learned. Instead, they ask constantly for new eyes to see old truths. They are content to come with an attitude that prefers a heart without words rather than words without a heart.

The words of the song, "You are Beautiful Beyond Description" is a mark of this kind of worshiper.
You are beautiful beyond description,
Too marvelous for words,
Too wonderful for comprehension,
Like nothing ever seen or heard.
Who can grasp your infinite wisdom?
Who can fathom the depth of your love?
You are beautiful beyond description,
Majesty enthroned above.

And I stand, I stand in awe of you.
I stand, I stand in awe of you.
Holy God, to whom all praise is due,
I stand in awe of you.

You are beautiful beyond description,
Yet God crushed You for my sin,
In agony and deep affliction,
Cut off that I might enter in.
Who can grasp such tender compassion?
Who can fathom this mercy so free?
You are beautiful beyond description,
Lamb of God, Who died for me.


I like what Kelly Sparks say about worship, that "God is not moved or impressed with our worship until our hearts are moved and impressed by Him."

How do we begin to journey there? Think less of ourselves and more of God, and strangely, God will make us aware of how much He thinks of us. Let us come to God just as we are. Let us remember that God knows us, and our needs much more than we ourselves know of our own needs. Is that not a reason to cast all our cares and burdens on God? Is that not a reason to worship God freely, knowing that our needs will be taken care of according to God's own time?

May the Lord help us to be the obedient worshiper.


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