Have you ever heard someone make the statement, “I just didn’t get anything out of worship today”? Maybe even you yourself have uttered it. If I thought it would do any good, as the preacher here, I would apologize if anyone has ever had reason to say that about the services at Wesconnett especially relating to the sermon, but I am convinced an apology would not correct the attitude that lies behind such a statement. I mean, I hate to think that either a visitor or, even worse, a member here might have had such an experience in one of our assemblies, but I assure you, the problem is not with the services or the program, but the problem lies in the heart of the one who feels this way. When on the first day of every week congregations of the Lord’s Church participate in singing, praying, giving, preaching, and partaking of the Lord’s Supper they can know they are worshipping God according to the truth laid out in the New Testament. Since acceptable worship of God must be done in spirit and truth (John 4:24), if a person feels like he or she did not “get anything” out of a worship service that was conducted decently and in order (1 Cor. 14:40) and in which all the acts of worship were properly observed (Acts 2:42), then the failure to “get anything” out of worship must lie within the spirit of the one making the statement. If there is any way for me to write or speak words that would lead to a change in this attitude, I hope they can be found in what follows in this article, but truly the needed change of spirit is only going to come through personal devotion to God’s Holy Word. The Gospel is what will transform a person’s mind and heart (Rom. 12:1-2), but I hope you will consider a few observations about worship the next time you find yourself thinking along these lines.
First, worship is about God. “Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness” (Psa. 29:2). When we come together on the first day of the week, our concern should be to express an irrepressible and insatiable desire to exalt the name of Jehovah God for the wonders that He alone can do and has done. Our worship should be the overflow of the service and study we have put into our Christian walk throughout the rest of the week. It should not be a ritual or procedure that we go through thoughtlessly, like getting ready for work in the mornings, or mowing the grass. The modern notion that worship must be contemporary and entertaining by adding musical instruments and lights and lasers is evidence of idolatry in the hearts of people who consider themselves Christians. They have become guilty of serving “the creature more than the Creator” (Rom. 1:25). They choose to worship according to their own will (Col. 2:23), not the will of God, and their worship is vain. God does not accept it. It is my hope that a person who considers making the statement, “I didn’t get anything out of worship today,” will remember worship is about God, not about you.
Second, you are not a spectator, but a participant. How can you praise God (Acts 2:47), how can you teach and admonish (Col. 3:16), how can you eat the Lord’s Supper worthily (1 Cor. 11:27), if you sit through the worship assembly with a judgmental spirit, considering only how each performance of each act appealed to your inflated sense of entertainment? Worship is not like a movie at which you sit and observe while your emotions are jerked this way and that, then at the conclusion of which you evaluate whether this particular movie was worth the price of admission. Worship is more like a fountain in a park and we are the pipes and the pumps underground and out of sight. Each piece is vital and necessary for the water to majestically spring forth in artful fashion, and the only Judge of its value is the one refreshed by its spray—in this case God Almighty. When Christians gather together and actively lift up praise to God, He is pleased. We were created for this purpose according to His good pleasure (read Ephesians). When you are tempted to think, “I just didn’t get anything out of worship today,” follow that thought up with the questions, “How much did I contribute to the expression of praise?” and “How thoughtfully did I participate in the study of God’s Word?”
Third, remember, when done correctly, you can’t help but “get something” out of worship. David said, “I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD” (Psa. 122:1), and, “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer” (Psa. 19:14). These are the words of a man who was getting something out of worship. He was getting the opportunity to participate in sacrifice, praise, thanksgiving, and communion, and his desire was that his participation be acceptable to God. He was getting something out because he was putting something in. If you are not getting anything out of worship, something is wrong, not with the Church or its practices, but with your heart.
The first day of the week should be the center point of our lives. It should be the day around which the rest of our week revolves. You might want to consider what the rest of your week looks like if you are not getting anything out of the worship services on Sunday.
5223 Wesconnett Blvd
Jacksonville, FL 32210
Phone: (904) 771-5075