Summary: Sometimes we want to put our worship of God in a box that we only break out on Sunday mornings. Worship, however, is much bigger than that.
I grew up in what I would consider, lower middle class. In the schools I went to as a kid there were really 3 levels of kids when it came to income. You had the rich kids. These kids had a Playstation AND N64, which were big when I was kid. They had huge houses and a TV in every room. Then you had higher lower class. These kids would have a Playstation OR N64. These were the kids whose houses you would go over to because their parents were typically more cool about having kids over. Then you had my type of people. I grew up with the Sega Mastersystem. I didn't get a Playstation until well after the PS2 was released. Our house was rather small. I remember sitting in my 6th grade classroom one day and noticing that could fit my whole house in that room. We did have a hallway, however. It was only a hallway in the loosest of terms. In order to get down the hallway with someone coming towards you, you would need to get right up against the wall and slide by them.
Needless to say, we didn't entertain much. However, when we did entertain, my mother would go into “CLEANUP” mode. The house was going to be even more spotless than those house you see on the cleaning commercials. As a kid, I always thought of this as lying. When ever people would come over and mention how cleaned our house was, I always wanted to say, “You know that spot where you're sitting? Yeah, well about 20 minutes ago I pried a grilled cheese sandwich from that exact spot.”
Of course going to church wasn't much different. Every Sunday was always a new adventure. My parents knew my sister would take a good hour to wake up, so right when they woke up, they would knock on my sisters door and get a very profound, “ehhghghghgh” sound to reassure them. My mom would be trying to get us together the whole morning, “Lynn please wake up and get ready, we're going to be late! Mark quit playing around and go eat some breakfast!” She'd be asking my dad where the Bible is, “Where'd we set the Bible? I know it's around here somewhere! Where'd we put it last week?” Then we'd get in the car and the yelling would continue. “Lynn, why didn't you get up sooner? We're gonna be late now, I just know it” This would continue the whole 20 minute drive to church. This would continue ion the parking lot and all the way until we walked in the front door when everything would change. We start talking like this and say, “Brother Lawrence, it is quite good to see you today. May God bless you and your family this most blessed of Sundays.”
And that is the way I viewed worship. It was just this thing we did Sunday mornings. It was all those songs we would sing on a Sunday morning. But my view of worship never went past that. And I'm sure we've all had those mornings. Some of us may have had one of those mornings today. We also may be stuck in that limited view of worship. We might still treat this Sunday morning thing as our only time of worship.
The problem is worship is more than a singing a song. Worship is more than listening to a preacher on a Sunday morning. Worship is more than giving your 10%. Worship is more than feeling good. Worship is more than feeling sorry for your sins. Those are small parts of worship. However, real worship begins much deeper than that. Worship can only happen when it comes from your heart. You may sing a song but to whom are you singing it to? God? Maybe. You may listen to a preacher on a Sunday morning but do you apply what they said to your life? Do you take seriously the challenges presented? You may give your tithe on a weekly budget but where is your heart when you give? Is it dwelling on the money lost or on what the Kingdom has gained? Does worship have anything to do with how we feel? Shouldn't we focus more on how it is glorifying God? Do you feel sorrow for the sins you have committed when you worship? What type of sorrow do you feel? Are you willing to turn from those sins?
Questions. We all have them. Christians love to raise questions to debate. However, most of the questions we ask about worship focus more on preferences rather than the heart. In fact many churchgoers in the US think that worship is nothing more than singing a song to God. This may be a good reason why so many churches fight over music. They argue over whether it should be hymns, choruses, contemporary, rock-ish, etc. The real question should be, is this song honoring and praising God? If it is, who cares what it sounds like? Dr. Beckman once explained it this way during a question and answer time. “Hymns may say, 'The cows are in the field, they are in the field because they need to eat, once they eat they are full.' While the more contemporary songs may say, 'The cows are in the field, the field, the field. The cows are in the field where they must eat. In the field, where the cows eat, they become full, they become full, they become full.' They are both saying the exact same thing! Who cares what they sound like?”