Participating without the Participation

On many occasions I’ve heard about people leaving the worship assembly feeling like nothing happened to change their lives.  As one man put it “We start at 10:00 sharp and end at 11:00 dull. How can it be that some folks come expecting great things and leave disappointed that nothing special happened?

The activity of worship doesn’t change a whole lot from week to week (it’s content and what we are supposed to do is settled by Scripture).  We sing, we pray, we give a donation, we listen to a sermon, and eat the same Lord’s supper week after week.  Not much changes.  So it is quite easy to participate in a ritual without having to really involve the heart, mind and soul. Our bodies just seem to go through a well practiced pattern.

It is easy to fix blame on worship leaders. We can complain about boring songs, long sermons, rehashed prayers.  But is that really the problem?  How is it that one person can come to worship and be excited, motivated, uplifted, and satisfied while the person next to him leaves bored, lifeless and disappointed?

Our worship is an offering to God.  We assemble to praise, worship and extol Him.  It is our opportunity to pour out our hearts and our love to the Father.  This originates from our hearts.  I am reminded of God’s words…

“You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13

Could it be that many are not finding strength, joy and fulfillment in the worship of God because their hearts are not in it?  Maybe much of the problem of dull assemblies falls upon each of us, in that what we put into the worship isn’t very exciting, energetic or motivating.  Perhaps attendance isn’t enough to make worship a special time.  Perhaps merely being in the crowd isn’t fulfilling.  It’s time to seek God with our whole heart.  I need to prepare for worship by getting my heart ready to meet God.  My heart, my mind, my body needs to be engaged in giving my best to God.  Then He will be pleased and I will be rewarded with His presence in worship.  Who could consider that dull?

Spectator worship is truly boring and lifeless.  Engaging worship involves the whole heart and being of the individual.  Singing out, praying along, giving cheerfully, listening and applying the word of God, and meeting Jesus in the Lord’s Supper these things depend on you and not much on anyone else.  Worship with the saints can often be a reflection of our own personal worship habits.  What is your worship like at home?  How fulfilling is your daily devotional time?  If those lack spirit and energy then most likely you will bring that same spirit and energy to the church building  to do the same with everyone else.

Joseph D. Chase
Gladewater, Texas


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