Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Lord Of Our Worship

A very successful businessman named Tim, was once giving a talk on the importance of treating others well. He spoke at great length on showing genuine interest to both clients and employees. According to Tim, “If you treat people well, they will be pleased to see you and if you make yourself approachable they will come to you and be more than willing to do business with you." Tim then related a personal anecdote about his wife, his dog, and himself. He said, “Over time, I observed my wife, Lisa, at various social affairs, so affectionate with others that she drew them to herself. The host, guests, and even the hired help all greeted her warmly while I got the usual treatment of, ‘Good Evening, Mr. Hill.’ While I was glad that everyone loved Lisa, I realized that that I also felt angry. 'Maybe,' I thought to myself, 'I'm just being selfish.' However, later that evening, as I was reflecting on the day, I realized that what was really bothering me was that my wife did not respond to me in the same loving was as she treated strangers. That angered me. To make matters worse, upon arriving home, our dog ran straight to her, wagging his tail, and licking her hands, as she made lovey-dovey comments to him, calling him by his pet names. I stood in the doorway observing this Kodak moment with anger. Lisa must have noticed, for she asked me, ‘what’s wrong dear?’ Frustrated, I answered, 'Why aren't you ever affectionate like that with me?' 'What do you mean?’ she asked. Begrudgingly, I explained, ‘you greeted everyone at the party with a smile, and you even hugged and kissed them, and now this; even our dog gets more attention from you than I do.’ Looking at me mischievously, Lisa then said with the sweetest possible voice, ‘If you acted like the dog does when he sees me, you would get more of what he gets.'

You see, Tim's wife, and their dog had an ongoing relationship of trust. Tim however did not seem to have ongoing intimacy with his wife. As such, he became needlessly jealous of the dog's place of affection in his wife's heart. He was even envious of the attention and affection others had for his wife. Poor Tim, he is entitled to so much more of his wife's love and care, yet is willing to settle for that given to strangers and pets. As adults in a loving union with Christ, our adoration and attention should be His. Anything that steals the affections rightly belong to Him, has no place in our hearts. A heart filled with gratitude and praise to Christ is a heart that naturally spills over to others in works of mercy. This is the ultimate demonstration of worship.

According to the Greek lexicon, the word "Worship" means "to kiss The hand," which could certainly conjure up a picture of a dog licking his master's hand. For those of you who don't like or have pets, this could be a very unpleasant analogy. But here's a question for you, "Have you thought about the way in which you welcome God?" Are you as happy to see Him, as a pet (dog) is happy to see his master? Dogs may not agape their masters, but most tend to be very affectionate, loyal and forgiving; no matter what, they tend to come back to you. As human beings, God made us to have dominion over the animals. As such I am sure He wants more than simple-minded worship from us. Yet, many of us don't even adore Christ as much as these 'dumb' animals do. Lest you be offended by the use of the term 'dumb' to describe animals, remember, that as human beings we were made a little lower than the angels. We can feel and think, animals can feel and intuit; and there's a world of difference between the two.

In the New Testament, the word translated as "worship" means "to kneel or prostrate oneself in homage through obeisance, as a method of expressing respect or making supplication. The idea of kneeling or prostrating oneself implies the concept of inferiority and superiority in terms of rank; The one who kneels or lays prone is of lesser rank. In a very real sense, when we bow down and worship, we are acknowledging Christ's superior rank. Yes, it is possible to submit to Him merely because He has greater rank and stature than we do, however this is not the worship that Christ desires. Christ longs for mature worship springing forth from hearts softened by grace, bathed in the memories of His loving care. Such a heart has bright hopes for a future with Him. No bridegroom wants his bride to await him begrudgingly, thinking that this is the best deal she is going to get, so she'd better take it. What an affront that would be to an intelligent, mature and loving

Folks, through the prophet Isaiah, in Isaiah 55:1, the Lord invites all who hunger and thirst for the bread and water of life to come freely that they may partake, yea, without cost. In John 4:13, 14, Christ says, " Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again (this He said to the Samaritan woman at the well): But whosoever drinketh of this water that I shall give him will never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life." Folks, we are not like the Samaritan people who worshipped they knew not what (vs. 22). No, we are those who know that although the Father is Spirit, Christ is flesh and blood, having put on humanity like ours. As such, we understand that God is seeking those who worship Him in Spirit and in truth. We understand and have partaken of the living bread of life who has given His flesh as a ransom for the human race (John 6:51). In light of this we not only have been made righteous and are growing up to the fullness of the measure of the stature of Christ (Romans 5:19, Eph. 4:13), but we along with 'Spirit,' are the 'bride' who together "say 'Come,' and let him that heareth say 'Come,' and whoever is athirst, 'Come;' And whoever will, let him take the water of life freely" Rev. 22:17).

Come all who are listening, come all who are reading, come and take the water of life. Come and praise the One who gave His life a ransom for the many. Come and praise with the heavenly host, and the twenty-four elders, and the angels, the One who was found worthy to open the sealed book and commence vindication of Himself in His people. And, the Spirit and the Bride say 'COME.' Folks, with such a great invitation, what is stopping you? COME!
Maria Greaves-Barnes & Raul Diaz

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