Mark 7:7 They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.
What is the purpose of worship? Why does it exist and is it relevant in today’s world for 21st century Christians?
Simply stated, the purpose of worship is to glorify God. We gather together bringing Him our songs of praise, our heartfelt prayers, our hard earned gifts, and our minds to receive a message from His Word. From the beginning to the very end, worship should have this common theme: it’s all about God and it’s all for God. God is the audience and we present our praise to Him. If we come away from our worship services and say, “I didn't get anything out of the service,’ then there’s nothing wrong about that: Worship is about what we give and is never about what we get.
Because we live in a consumerist society, we expect something in return for our time, our talents, and our gifts. If that’s how we view worship, then we’re no longer worshiping; we’re actually shopping for something spiritual to take with us. This is why some people shop from one church to another – they’re looking for what they can get, instead of seeing what they can give. They end up with something bland and dissatisfying, and can never truly find what they are looking for.
Worship challenges our consumerist mentality and makes us honestly look at our faith. If we’re too preoccupied with ourselves, we’ll miss the point. If we’re too focused on something else during worship, we’ll become distracted, and eventually disconnected to God. God never expects to be worshiped nominally, vainly, or disinterestedly. He expects us to focus on Him, to praise Him, to keep our hearts and minds tuned to Him, in order to truly worship Him.
So, next time we find ourselves at a worship service, let’s forget about us and totally worship Him.
Questions for personal reflection
How do I prepare myself for worship on Sundays? What can I bring and give to God in worship?
Prayer: Lord God, help us to embrace the true meaning of worship. Enable us to become attentive to Your will during worship, so that we may please You with our praises and glorify You in our prayers. In Your Holy Name, we humbly pray. Amen.
John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to ask questions or make comments about today’s message, please send him an email to Traqair@aol.com.
Today’s image is one of John’s latest Christmas drawings called ‘Star Angel.’ If you would like to view a larger version, please click on the following link: Angel.