However, the biblical notion of worship is entirely different. It does not measure worship by attendance or offering. It doesn’t pass judgement based on how technologically advanced the equipment is, how practiced the musicians or the merits of the pastor’s sermon. The writer of Psalm 51 pulls no punches and is under no illusion:
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. 11 Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit. 13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you. 14 Deliver me from bloodshed, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your deliverance. 15 O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. 16 For you have no delight in sacrifice; if I were to give a burnt-offering, you would not be pleased. 17 The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
Looking at this psalm from the perspective of worship, we see worship begins at the place in our lives where we recognize that our greatest need is fulfilled by a greater God (vs 10-12). This writer’s life has collapsed. his weakness shown for what it is, her failings have been found out. There exists nothing to brag about and the true need is shown - a need for God's forgiveness, healing and renewal.
But worship doesn’t stop there. Our worship of God continues; marked not by the words we say and hear, but is defined by action, namely, how we reach out to others whose hearts are far from God (v 13). Our worship rightly leads us to reach out.
Now, as we reach verse 14, does the psalmist write about praising God. It is more than just showing up. As Bob Crossman notes, “The person who tastes God’s grace in life can’t help but credit God for the new lease on life! (14-15)."
In the end, the psalm writer confesses that worship is defined by our humility, a trait we lack apart from the recognition of our condition, namely, our need for God’s presence in our lives. God knows full well, as do you and I, if all that was required of us was to bring “something” to give at church – it can be given and mean absolutely nothing.
Our worship of God should go beyond what we do when we gather with other followers of Jesus Christ. The celebration of liturgy, the singing of hymns and songs, the hearing of a sermon, and the praying of prayers. Worship is about the spiritual heart. Just like our physical heart that pumps the blood which brings life to our whole body, this worship of God should permeate every action undertaken in both our ordinary and extraordinary moments.
What will be your next step in worship? Will it be to attend more frequently each month? Will it be to serve others at worship? Those are a couple of ideas but the real question for you today as we consider our Commitment to Christ when we leave worship isn’t, “How was it?” but “How did I do?” Did I own up to the condition of my life? Did I accept what God offered to me?