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Imperfect Worship


By Benjamin H. Liles

         Mary then took a pound of very costly perfume of pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. ~ John 12:3


          As I sit here contemplating those last few precious hours before Jesus, our Lord and Savior, was crucified I think of those who took time to worship Him. John records a story where Mary uses an expensive bottle of spikenard, which came from the Himalayas, to worship Jesus.

          Earlier in John's gospel he reminisces about Jesus talking to a woman at a well, where he tells us, "Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth" (John 4:21-24, New American Standard). 

          The point is that there is no right way to worship God, the Father, who is Spirit and Truth. David danced before the Lord; and we read, "And so it was, when those bearing the ark of the Lord had gone six paces, that he sacrificed oxen and fatted sheep. Then David danced before the Lord with all his might; and David was wearing a linen ephod. So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting and with the sound of the trumpet. Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David, and said, 'How glorious was the king of Israel today, uncovering himself today in the eyes of the maids of his servants, as one of the base fellows shamelessly uncovers himself!' So David said to Michal..."I will play music before the Lord. And I will be even more undignified than this, and will be humble in my own sight. But as for the maidservants of whom you have spoken, by them I will be held in honor'" (2 Samuel 6:13-15, 20, 21b-22).

          Folks, I'm not saying it's okay to go naked before others when we gather together to worship God for the sacrifice Jesus made on our behalf. I am saying we shouldn't be offended when others around us worship how they are. What matters more to God: our hearts in relation to Him or how we appear to others? Did not Samuel anoint David to be God's king over the people of Israel? (see 1 Samuel 16:5-7). 

          The way we worship and praise Him for all He has done on our behalf is done by our hearts and expressed outwardly. It doesn't matter if we do it with arms outstretched as a baby looking to be picked up by a parent. It doesn't matter if you have your arms up and waving like a set of palm trees blowing in a gentle breeze. You can even do so with a bowed head and arms either by your side or even clasped by the other hand in front. Worship is a matter of the heart, not done to impress others or even to be flamboyant. It's simply an act to show the utmost love and express of what He's done on your behalf. 

          Most of all worship is something that shows He is "worth adoration and love." Isn't that what worship means? God above is worth the way we praise and show Him that adoration and love. Should we hinder and make others stumble just because we don't agree? We're one body in the Messiah and we ought to love one another as Jesus loved us. So, let us all worship Him the way we know how. Let's do it from the heart, arms where ever we want them (within reason), heads bowed (if we want), eyes closed and either singing along, or simply mouthing the words. It doesn't matter. All that matter is we love Him the way He's loved us first.

          Father, God, I thank You for the time I always get to share with You. I love our moments together, where I can worship and praise You as You have made me. I may not dance before You as David did. I may put my hands up in the air and sway a little, but You know my heart. What I want to do is show others how much You mean to me. It's okay to worship You how we want. It's not up to me to say how someone should worship and praise You. That's up to each individual and what You put on their heart, within reason. I love, praise, worship and adore You with all my heart, mind, body and soul. In Jesus' sweet and precious name I pray. Amen.