Costly Worship

September 27, 2021

Amos 5: 21-23

“I can’t stand your religious meetings.
   I’m fed up with your conferences and conventions.
I want nothing to do with your religion projects,
   your pretentious slogans and goals.
I’m sick of your fund-raising schemes,
   your public relations and image making.
I’ve had all I can take of your noisy ego-music.
   When was the last time you sang to me?"

When our worship and religious activity becomes centered more around ourselves - our accomplishments, our image, our reputation - than on the glory and worthiness of Jesus, we have made worship into something it was never intended to be - an idol.

In contrast, worship that is costly - that gives without reserve, that puts Jesus at the focus and doesn't hold anything back, this COSTLY worship is the kind of worship that honors the Lord. Here are a few thoughts about costly worship:

1. Costly worship can be offensive.

In 2 Samuel 6, there is a story about when David and the nation of Israel tried to bring the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem. After a failed attempt to move the ark, David and the nation of Israel took great care to worship according to God's prescribed methods. In the procession of worship, David "danced before the Lord with all his might," (v. 14). His wife Michal saw this and, "When she saw David leaping and dancing before the Lord, she was filled with contempt for him," (v. 16). Costly worship may not be understood by everyone. Your choice to give your life in pursuit of Jesus might be questioned by family, friends, and those closest to you. This kind of worship is pleasing to God, and that must be our motivation if we want our worship to be substantive, authentic, and costly.

2. Costly worship isn't convenient.

In the gospel of Luke, chapter 7, we read about Jesus eating at a dinner party at the home of a religious leader. In verse 36 we read about how the party was interrupted by "the town harlot," (v. 37, The MESSAGE). This woman worshipped Jesus in such a sacrificial, radical way by interrupting the dinner party and anointing Jesus feet with perfume, washing and kissing them (v. 38). This radical act of worship sparked outrage in the religious leaders, who began to question Jesus (v. 39). This woman didn't wait until the conditions were right, she showed her gratitude and worshipped Jesus when she was moved by her gratitude to worship Him. She didn't care about her reputation, or how it might look, but rather she offered costly worship to Jesus. May our hearts be moved in the same way - to worship Jesus even when it's not convenient.

3. Costly worship takes time.

So often we want worship to fit into our schedules and into our neat and tidy service plans. While it's good to take time to plan, we would do well to give ourselves extended time to worship the Lord. In the book of Revelation, we are shown scenes of worship taking place around the throne of God. In chapter 4, John describes all kinds of living beings circling the throne. He says, "They never rest day or night, but keep on saying, 'Holy, holy holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is coming,'" (Rev 4: 8). Worship shouldn't be slotted in a service because that's just what we do at the beginning of a service. Worship should be considered, prepared for, and offered with extravagance in expectation of meeting with God.

What would worship look like if we committed to worship the Lamb of God in a costly way? What if we threw off the expectations of others and offered Jesus our whole heart and lives in worship? Let's be people that offer the Lord all that we have in worship. Let us be people that echo David's sentiment from 2 Samuel 24:24, where he says, "I will not offer to the Lord my God sacrifices that cost me nothing."