I shared this past Sunday about what it means to be a true worshiper (link to video) In John 4:23-24, Jesus tells us that He is looking for true worshipers, people who worship in Spirit and Truth. Unfortunately, many people view worship as simply a time of singing songs during Sunday morning. Romans 12:1-2 expands our definition of worship to include our entire lives. Listen to how the Message paraphrases this passage:
Romans 12:1-2 MSG So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
This is our spiritual act of worship, giving our entire lives before God. We give God our time, we give God our devotion, we give God our worship, we give Him what He rightfully deserves, the first place in our life. When we meet together on Sunday to worship, everything we do is worship! We worship through gathering together and encouraging one another, we worship through singing and praising God, we worship through the teaching of His Word, and we worship through giving. It’s this last one that typically gets neglected in most church services. Instead of viewing giving as worship, we view giving as an obligation.
In my recent trip to Nicaragua, I was able to truly worship through giving. I literally gave away every dollar I had before I left. When you experience God moving and working, you want to support God’s work and help advance the Kingdom. I want to encourage you to view giving to your local church as worship. As honoring God and giving back to Him a portion of what He has blessed you with. God owns everything, and He has entrusted you to manage it wisely. Let’s work together to transform the communities we live in through the local church.
Several churches that I know of actually stand up and applaud while the offering is taken, knowing that God is going to do incredible things through the resources and money that are being given. During the message, I also mentioned a video I viewed on YouTube about a man celebrating while giving his offering. I love the joy that he shows in giving back to God. It’s a little over the top, but that’s why I like it!
Are you a true worshiper? Someone who worships God for who He is, for what He has done, and what He will do in the future.
Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on worship. I just recently completed a blog series on worship (see url) to try to get people to rethink how and why they worship. The world is starting to see the church as Christianity. And renegade churches like Westboro Baptist are not helping matters. People are looking at that as Christianity. And no one is standing up and drowning them out. It scares me what our churches and our freedom is about to become if we don’t wake up and change our ways and get back to God. Best of luck in your ministry! My wife and I plan to visit Galax soon, and we’ll stop in and visit. If you’d ever like to have me come and minister to your church, let me know. Read my blog (start from the bottom) when you get a chance and give me some comments if you’d like.
Thanks for the post. My question is, what New Testament model do we have for giving? I’d say the most obvious one is Paul talking to the Corinthians about him coming to get the collection for the saints in Jerusalem.
My problem with giving in the church is that it doesn’t follow this model. The giving generally goes to the”general fund” that pays the bills and salary, not to helping the poor.
Thanks for the comment, here are some of my thoughts and experiences.
In my experience, the people who I have seen complain the loudest about the Old Testament system of tithing are typically not generous givers. When you study the Old Testament giving, you realize that they gave over 20% of their yearly income/harvest to the temple. We even see tithing established between Abraham and Melchizedek before the law was established.
I believe Matthew 5:17 tells us that Jesus does not abolish the law, but brings it to its fulfillment. The New Testament method of giving is to give and surrender everything. It’s simply to be a generous giver, and I don’t think anything less than 10% could be truthfully considered as generous.
In Acts we see the early disciples selling everything they had and providing for each others needs. We run into problems when we hold on too tightly. 1 Timothy 5:17-18 is very clear about providing salaries for those who preach and teach, so you can’t exclude that from one of the purposes of giving. As a pastor, everything we do is focused on making disciples. So the facility costs, the personnel costs, the supply costs, everything is going toward reaching people and teaching them to be disciples. Everything we do is missions, reaching our community and world for Christ.
A second thought is that money is not always what the poor need. We live in a poverty sticken area (we are a downtown church) and we have requests daily for food and emergency help. We have a large benevolence budget, but what we typically find is that the people need more than just monetary help. They need someone to come along beside them and help them fill out paperwork, to help them budget, to help them know what resources are available to them. They simply need us to show them the love of Christ, to spend time with them and love them.
If you believe that an elder/pastor is a official role or position established by Scripture as I do, then it ultimately comes down to an issue of authority. They are responsible to provide care and oversight for you and not to do it for the love of money (1 Peter 5:2) They deserve respect and honor for their service.
Matthew 22 has Jesus saying this:
15 Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words. 16 They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. “Teacher,” they said, “we know that you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are. 17 Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay the imperial tax[a] to Caesar or not?”
18 But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, “You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? 19 Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius, 20 and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?”
21 “Caesar’s,” they replied.
Then he said to them, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”
We all know that we are to give the tenth of our income. Whether the church uses it for whatever, the church is accountable to God for its fiscal responsibility. Jesus doesn’t say only give to the church if you agree with where it’s going. He says give “to God what is God’s.” If you want money to go to specific things, the bible talks about offerings (these are monies above and beyond the ten percent.) Give that to the other things near and dear to your heart. But don’t keep from God what is God’s. I have found in my life that He will take it away from you one way or another. Is it worth that to you?
Thank you for letting me reply to this.