“No one is to appear before me empty-handed.” Exodus 23:14. NIV.
Living in an entertainment culture, we are coached to receive or to be entertained. We are prone to expect the same from a church. We go to church to hear a sermon, that hopefully is not too troubling to our conscience, one with a few laughs and memorable stories. We want our children to be minded and kept happy and the morning tea to be well stocked with fresh biscuits and be served the best coffee in town.
It is dreadful that today’s Christianity has turned away from the example of our Lord who “came not to be served but to serve and give Himself as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28). We should come to church with the attitude that we are there to give not get, to serve and not to be served. We should enter the door looking for opportunities to worship, to fellowship and to meet the needs of others.
When people think worship services are boring, dull, and unconnected to the modern view of religious experiences, we sometimes have to wonder if it is because of the service or the worshipper. In the Old testament Israelites were instructed not to turn up in front of God “empty handed.” This required personal consecration, a setting aside of self-interest and needs to prepare to give and serve.
What does that mean for us today?
- We can prepare for worship on The Lord’s Day (Sunday) by spending time at least the day before in God’s word, prayer, meditation, and personal worship. (this may mean not staying out late on Saturday nights).
- From daily personal devotion notes we can be ready to bring an offering of service on Sunday, perhaps a song of praise or a word of encouragement or a prayer.
- Daily personal worship makes us ready to say “Amen” to the prayers offered by others, the benediction or the sermon.
- When we spend time during the week to read the Bible, pray and worship, the Worship Service becomes a celebration of our personal worship experienced throughout the week.
- When we come to our community worship we are able to sing from our hearts to the Lord and join in since He has been close to our heart all week long.
When I bring an offering of a full heart to the Worship Service and give it to God I take with me a heart full of blessing far exceeding what I brought.
The picture I want to leave with you is the picture of Mary in John Chapter 12 who poured expensive perfume that cost her over a year’s wages on Jesus’ feet and wiped it with her hair. The Bible says the fragrance of the perfume filled the house.
I want to encourage you to fill the house every Sunday morning with the perfumes you have prepared and brought.