Worthless Worship

Over the years many scriptures have come alive to me as I sought out what it means to be a worshipper of God.  Not all scriptures that have made an impact on me were nice little encouragements. I am not sure how God speaks to you, but He is usually pretty straightforward with me.  One of the more straightforward scriptures that have molded my worship is found in Amos 5:21-24(MSG),

“I can’t stand your religious meetings. I’m fed up with your conferences and conventions. I want nothing to do with your religion projects, your pretentious slogans, and goals.  I’m sick of your fundraising schemes, your public relations, and image making. I’ve had all I can take of your noisy ego-music. When was the last time you sang to me? Do you know what I want? I want justice—oceans of it. I want fairness—rivers of it. That’s what I want. That’s all I want.”

Ouch!  Yep. That definitely cuts to the chase.  This is a great reminder to take a step back from all of the activity and the noise and realize it is easy to lose focus of what and who really matters.  We can sing our songs, say our prayers, amen through every sermon and when it is all said and done, never really put into practice the things we just heard and declared.  A.W Tozer said it best when he said, “Christians don’t tell lies, they just go to church and sing them.”

We speak of hope but ignore the hopeless. We sing about healing but never reach out our hands to the sick. We cry out for prosperity, but mostly for self-preservation. We ask God to give us the nations, but don't speak out against racial injustice in our own communities.  There is such a thing as worthless worship. It is worship that has words but no action. It is worship that has sound but no heart. Jesus defines it in Mark 7:6-7, when he quotes the prophet Isaiah saying,

“These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’"

Those two phrases, “Their hearts are far from me” and “They worship me in vain”, shake me to my core.  I don’t want to be that type of worshipper. I refuse to just go through the motions. I have been a part of the church for a long time, and many times it has felt like we were saying all the right things, but doing nothing.  We have made powerful declarations, sung all of the songs, prayed the prayers, but God is asking us to take action. He doesn’t want to hear us just talk about love; He wants to see it lived out. He is not only asking us to sing about justice; He wants to see us fight for it.  He doesn’t want us to just dream of every nation, tribe and tongue worshipping; He wants us to facilitate it. May we be a people whose hearts burn for God and may our worship become justice that flows like a river and mercy that runs like a stream!!