Being in the presence of someone more accomplished than yourself can be very intimidating. In 2010, I was invited to speak at a conference in the Metropolitan Club in New York. Men are required to wear jackets and ties at all times. Mobile phones or laptops are to be used only in designated rooms in the building.
My invite didn’t mention a dress code and so I turned up in business casuals. I neither had a suit nor a tie. Thankfully I wasn’t sent away but was directed at the gate to get a tie and coat from the cloak room. Embarrassed and waiting at the counter, I was immediately noticed as an outsider as someone not meeting the standard of the etiquette set for the venue.
I finished my talk, stayed for couple of other talks and decided to leave at around 5 pm. To my horror all the exits of the hall I was in were blocked by the US secret service. You could tell, they couldn’t be messed around with as they were tall solidly built men with sharp eyes, wired to the core and loaded with weapons and ammunition underneath their jackets.
I was escorted almost by hand out to a passage to another agent who led me down the stairs. I was told that a VIP was coming over to speak that evening at the venue, they were polite about the inconvenience caused to me. When I turned to look very quickly, from a distance I saw Joe Biden, the former US Vice President, being escorted to another room. He was the VIP.
Imagine being in the presence of a powerful and influential person. Imagine being asked to perform a craft in front of a person who knows all about your trade and more. Imagine you are in the presence of someone who knows everything about you. Peter felt like that in Luke 5. When Simon Peter saw this (the catch of fish, and Peter’s failure at being a fisherman), he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed Him (Luke 5:8-11).
Peter felt imperfect, afraid, and lonely even though he was surrounded by people he knew and circumstances he was accustomed to. But the Lord takes Peter’s insecurities, fear and inadequacies and turns it into something beautiful, from catching fish to catching people.
Not much later in Luke 17, we read of the 10 lepers who were healed of leprosy. If Peter’s was a spiritual transformation, theirs was a physical transformation. This meant in their day, reconciliation and acceptance in the society they were ostracised from. Yet only one of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan (Luke 17: 15–17).
God deserves our worship for who He is. But returning to God in worship without fear or intimidation knowing that He has a keen interest in us and that He changes us is special. Whenever we turn to God in worship, we are thankful for what Jesus has done for us. Worship that stems from a sense of failure, emptiness, brokenness, gratitude and thankfulness always finds a hearty reception from God and a deep life changing connection to the Creator. Do you experience this connection with the life-giver Himself? May be its time for you to return to God in worship.