Summary: Stewardship is about more than money. A faithful steward not only stewards his/her resources, but his/her connection to the body of Christ. This message touches on offering ourselves to the body of Christ through our presence in worship.
We continue our Generosity: Possible series this morning discovering what it means to be generous with our presence. When we became a Christian, and one who chose to walk the faith journey as United Methodist, not only did we commit to support the body of Christ with our prayers and witness, but also with our presence. Oh! No! Here we go. Preacher’s about to get onto us for not coming to worship enough! No, I’m not. That’s another sermon. I’m going to share with you a deeper meaning of being present with the body of Christ. Certainly, presence in worship is part of that, but it is so much more. Being present is gathering together to encourage one another, share faith, pass on the faith, grow up in the faith…to be present with each other and to be present before God, and that may well happen AT the church, but it also happens at work, at the hospital, at the nursing home, at school and even at our home when we gather with others who share the faith journey with us. Being generous with our presence means to be present every moment of every day with others, living faithfully the essence of our faith so that our life becomes a testimony of God’s goodness, faithfulness and love.
The late Adrian Rogers said:
“the curse of the 20th Century is Sunday-morning religion. Now, there’s nothing wrong with Sunday-morning religion, but the problem is that so many people have only a Sunday-morning religion. Somebody wrote these words: ‘They’re praising God on Sunday, but they’ll be all right on Monday. It’s just a little habit they’ve acquired.’ Well then, we come to church, then, to worship God on Sunday—and, well we ought. But, folks, we ought not simply come to worship; we ought to bring our worship to church. And, when we leave this building, we ought to take our worship with us, because, you see, the Bible teaches that when we’re right with God, every day is a holy day, every act is to be a sacred deed, and everything we do we’re to do to the glory of God.”
I would say that what was true for the 20th century is equally as true for the 21st century.
Please don’t misunderstand me, though. Worship together is imperative to the life of faithful discipleship. We will never worship “out there” until we’ve first worshipped in here. There is something incredibly life-changing that happens when the body of Christ worships together. That’s the essence of what the Apostle Paul is trying to communicate to the church in a city called Colossae. He says in verse 16 to “Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.” Paul is talking about worship, and did you know, this is the closest thing we have in the New Testament to describing what a worship service is supposed to look like? The New Testament does not give any pattern for conducting a specific corporate worship service in churches. It does not tell how long the services are to be, how many psalms, hymns or spiritual songs are to be sung and it does not tell us how long to stand or sit down. The New Testament does not tell us the styles, types of music or what instruments can be used. The traditions of preceding generations tell us, but the New Testament does not. Paul only points out the necessity of and the power in worship.
Why is our presence here for worship important? First, and obviously, because God alone is worthy of our worship, but secondly, worship is what we are created to do, and we become like what we worship. One preacher said, “The man molds the idol, and then, the idol molds the man.” If we worship the Lord Jesus, we’ll become like the Lord Jesus. I also like to think that when we worship, we discover, as we said a few weeks ago, the level ground of Calvary. Somebody may be here this morning who can give more money than I can, or someone can sing better, or someone can understand the Bible better than me; and some can teach the Bible better, but no one can worship better than me. Think about that! No one can worship better than you. No one can give more of themselves to God than any other person. I can give all of myself and you can give all of yourself in worship. And, even any child here can worship God with a full heart, and can please God, and be blessed.
Worship doesn’t end when we leave this building, though. Worship extends to all of life. Worship extends to every deed every day. That’s what Paul is saying in verse 17: And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father. Worship is doing everything in the name of Jesus and giving God thanks for it. “Well, Pastor, why is that?” Well, what is worship? Isn’t worship glorifying God? Well, if we do everything in the name of Jesus, and give God thanks for it, wouldn’t that glorify God?