When Worship is Difficult
Scenario: It’s Sunday morning, you’re running late, just dropped off the kids, your coffee order is wrong, things this week have not gone well and worship has started. As the Sunday morning service continues you just don’t feel like worshipping. Things weren’t right things week, there’s a relational conflict, finances are tight, you name it- things aren’t going well.
What do we do? Should we fake it? Should we stand quietly hoping no one notices?
Let’s hold on a second. What do we know about worship?
According to the author John and his Gospel, we are to worship God in ‘Spirit’ and in ‘Truth.’ John 4:24 Two things we need to break down from that verse. Worshipping God in truth is declaring who He is, what he has done, and what He promises through Christ. Worshipping in Spirit means we are engaging our emotions and worshipping a Supernatural being.
One of my favorite examples of someone who chose to worship Christ when it was difficult can be found in Luke Chapter 7.
Jesus is at a dinner party hosted by a Jewish Leader Simon. As the evening progress, a sinful woman makes her way through the home and proceeds to kneel before Jesus, pour perfume on his feet, wet his feet with her tears and dry them with her hair.
Can you imagine how difficult this was for her? Not only is she labeled as a ‘sinful woman,’ but she enters the house of a religious elitist, finds her Lord, and creates a display that begins to bring the party to a halt. Do you think she ‘felt’ like doing this?
Simon the Pharisee acknowledges this woman in front of the crowd saying she’s a sinner. Christ immediately speaks with Simon and recognizes the woman for her act of worship.
Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”
“Tell me, teacher,” he said.
41 “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii,[a] and the other fifty. 42 Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”
43 Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.”
“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.
44 Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”
48 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
What I love about this passage is that her efforts were honored. There’s no mention of her speaking to Jesus saying, “If I worship you, will you forgive me?” Instead she does it anyway. Christ honors our efforts- as long as they are pure and true.
Sometimes when our spirit feels dry, it’s ok to ask Christ to meet us where we are. Waiting on Jesus is a good thing. David waited for the Lord, and God honored him and put a song in his mouth in Psalm 40.
Worship requires effort, but it also requires pure motives. Sometimes engagement looks different day to day- but God knows our hearts. What’s important is we need to seek Him in moments when we don’t feel like it.
Let me leave you with this quote:
“Wait on the Lord. It’s just a matter of time before the wind of the Spirit starts to blow.” – Steve Fuller