Why do you come to worship? Is it to give something or to get something? Well neither is wrong, in fact, both are to be expected and done by all. The problem comes when Christians focus only on getting something out of “worship.” They are takers. They want to be encouraged, edified, leave worship feeling good, programs that focus on them, and when a congregation doesn’t deliver then they move on. However, it is only when we “give” in worship do we “get” something in return. Or let me say it this way, we only get out of worship what we put into worship. Worship may focus on God, but it is designed to benefit the worshiper too. God does not need your worship, but He deserves your worship. God is still God even if no one worships Him; but we worship Him because He is such. So how can we get the most out of worship?
Remember the true purpose of worship. As stated in an issue of the Gospel Advocate, “Worship is an outward expression of adoration for God, designed by Him and conveyed to us through His Word. As a result, Christians benefit individually and collectively from worshipping in Spirit and in truth (John 4:24), inwardly strengthening the soul of each who participates while building up the body of Christ.” I understand what people mean when they say they are going “to church,” but in reality, they are going to worship. The people are the church, and so it is impossible for people to “go” to something they are. The church is the body of Christ, the body of Christ is the people, the people assemble together in order to worship God. Worship is only a part of the church. The church is supposed to be active in worship, evangelism, and benevolence, and maybe we do not get anything out of worship because we are thinking about it all wrong. Our perception of something can affect the outcome. When we think about coming to “church” one day a week, then maybe we do not live like the church the other six days; because after all, “church is on Sunday.” So, what if we start thinking about the FACT that we are the church (1 Corinthians 12), and WE are the salt of the earth (Matt. 5:14), and WE are the light of the world (Matt. 5:16), and then WE start seeing worship as something that we need to do, and something that WE get to do as God’s children, then I believe that WE will get more out of it. Worship is more than sitting in a pew going through the five authorized acts, it is gathering at the foot of God’s throne and “blowing kisses” (literal definition of worship) towards the King of Kings.
Do not put worship on a check list. If you are like me, then you create a checklist of things that you need to get done during the week. In fact, I have a checklist on my computer that I make out every Monday morning with the various things that I need to get done that week. There is a since of satisfaction when I cross something off of that list, and I think “it is done, now on to the next project.” Many people view worship this way. “Well, I have to go to worship.” …check! Christianity is not a life that consists of checkmarks. This mentality will affect your worship and could be spiritually devastating. Make worship a priority, and gathering with the saints a blessing, instead of a burden. When Jesus went to the cross, He did not put it on a checklist. When we put worship on a checklist, we might be going through the motions while our heart is far from Him (Matt. 15:8).
Prepare yourself. We prepare ourselves for a lot of things: sports, trips, get togethers, reunions, weddings, etc. When someone has a ballgame, they purchase the proper clothing, attend practice, get all their equipment together, prepare themselves mentally, arrive early to stretch and warm up. But when it comes to worship we stay up too late Saturday night, sleep too late Sunday morning, rush to get dressed and skip breakfast or grab something as we run out the door. But what if we prepared better? We prepare our clothes the night before, get good sleep, wake up earlier, eat breakfast if you are a breakfast person, pray and prepare yourself mentally, avoid watching TV or listen music Sunday morning and completely give yourself to preparation because you are about to enter God’s presence in worship. My point is simply this: why do we take other things more seriously than worship? Why do we prepare for everything else and not for worship? We are tardy for bible class and worship, but what if we are consistently tardy for school or work? What would happen? Maybe we need to examine our priorities and start preparing ourselves better for worship and to worship.
Worship is the most important thing that you will do today, or even all week, so give it your all. Give God your best, because after everything that He has done, He truly deserves nothing less. The more you give, the more you will receive in return. It truly is a beautiful thing when the church worships in Spirit and in truth (Jn. 4:24). So, ask yourself the question, “What am I putting in?”