The Missing Jewel of the Church
It is a sad reality that biblically guided worship is largely missing amid all the activity that goes on in the church.
A number of years ago I read a newspaper account of a christening party in a wealthy Boston suburb. The parents had opened their palatial home to friends and relatives, who had come to celebrate the wonderful event. As the party was moving along and the people were having a wonderful time eating and drinking and celebrating and enjoying one another, somebody said, “By the way, where is the baby?”
The heart of that mother jumped, and she instantly rushed to the master bedroom, where she had left the baby asleep in the middle of the massive bed. The baby was dead, smothered by the coats of the guests.
I’ve often thought about that in reference to how the Lord Jesus Christ is treated in His own church. He is often carelessly overlooked by those who are supposedly celebrating Him, and the result is spiritual catastrophe. As we saw in earlier posts, much of what is done in the name of worship nowadays actually dishonors Christ.
We have many activities and little worship. We are big on ministry and small on adoration. We are disastrously pragmatic. All we want to know about is what works. We want formulas and gimmicks. And somehow in the process, we leave out that to which God has called us.
We are too many Marthas and too few Marys. We are programmed and informed and planned and busy—and we slight worship! We have our functionaries, our promotions, our objectives, our success-driven, numbers-conscious, traditionalistic, even faddish efforts. But too often acceptable, true, spiritual worship eludes us.
A. W. Tozer famously called worship “the missing jewel of the church.” If he were still with us, I’m sure he would reiterate that statement without question. By most estimates there are more than three hundred thousand churches in America with more than a hundred billion dollars’ worth of facilities dedicated to worshiping God. But how much true worship takes place?
Worship as the Word of God presents it is internal, sacrificial, active, and productive. That is not at all like the world’s concept of worship, yet it is the only kind of worship God recognizes. It is the purest kind of worship—the kind that ascends to God as sweet incense, the kind that is expressed continuously in every aspect of our lives by sharing with others, doing good works, and offering praise to God. That is the kind of worship God desires. It is worship in its truest, most spiritual sense.
My prayer is that this brief blog series would help you commit yourself to learning prayerfully what Scripture says about worship, and that you would experience, as did I, a fresh encounter with our God.
An obedient response to God’s Word will transform you into a true worshiper, aspiring to fulfill the ultimate priority.