I grew up going to “church service” where the ministers as well as the lay people took on key roles on Sunday mornings. My parents were actively involved in setting up or making sure the service ran smoothly: preparing the altar and pews, ushering, choir practice, teaching Sunday school, making the coffee….Thus, as a young adult, so was I.
Then one day, while visiting a church in another town, I noticed a plaque over the door leading out of the building. It read: “Worship is over. The service has begun.” They might have as well doused me with a bucket of ice water.
I drove back to the motel in stone silence as the message pierced my heart. I’d always figured I went to church to “serve” God by my attendance, participation, and ministry. But the plaque stated that my purpose, while in the sanctuary, is to primarily worship God because He is holy. My entire focus flipped.
I started coming to church to worship — to be filled instead of concentrating on being there to serve on this committee or in that ministry. Don’t get me wrong; I am still very active in my church’s programs. However, the joy in doing them has returned. It is no longer a “godly duty,” but a response of gratitude, which stems from my worship time. I no longer let my worship become tainted by my churchly to-do list. Instead, I use it to recharge my spiritual batteries, to bask in His presence, and to be instructed by Him. Then, I am eager to utilize what He gives me to begin the service… after worship.
Heavenly Father, keep my focus on You during worship and not on my service … even when I am serving in the worship program. Let me honor You because You are worthy. May I come emptied, ready to be filled with Your Holy Spirit so I can better be of service to You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Go deeper — mull over what the plaque said. Do you need to adjust your perception of church time as I did?