WONDERS OF WORSHIP
LEARNING TO LET GO
“Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha; you are careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-42) God intended for us to have joy in the journey –
How awesome to be able to see into the life of Jesus with stories about real people that he interacted with. Here are two sisters that were friends of Jesus and they had such different personalities. Martha (the choleric) was the busy organizer, the “worker bee” that was always thinking, going, doing and unfortunately complaining because everyone else is not. Mary seemed to be more of a melancholy type that was less stressful, serious, and sensitive who took the time to enjoy the beauty of a meaningful personal relationship. It is easy for any of us to drift into being a Martha because our flesh feels “at home” living in the “pressure cooker” of a demanding emotional world. All you have to do is let your spiritual priorities go and you will find that you have drifted far away from the peaceful shore. But no one ever drifts into being a Mary. This is a thoughtful, conscientious life that has lived in both worlds and knows the difference. These individuals have developed the discipline to stay focused on what is really important to them by spending time alone with God. In their calmness they have learned to listen to the Holy Spirit and are constantly aware of how both heaven and earth beckon us to come and spend our energy, attention and concentration. Every day each of us make life altering decisions to either allow ourselves to become entangled with the cares of this life or to break free by choosing Christ above all things. We do have a certain amount of responsibility that we need to take care of but we also must make time to sit at the feet of Jesus and bask in the wonders and majesty of God. Notice the last part of the verse, “Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away.” What does all this have to do with worship? I’m glad you asked!
True worship is work! It is more than just reading about it or thinking about it – it is doing it! Just like prayer; it is not as easy as it seems – it is “full battle gear” war. We spend time through the week listening to songs, praying and trying to feel a spiritual connection with God about the song, practicing at home, typing, chording, transposing etc…Then we make an extra effort to practice on Saturday evenings and also come to church early to practice before each service. This “busy work” can push our buttons and poke our emotions if we allow it. Do we always feel like doing all this – of course not, but we push through it and realize there is a “sacrifice” of praise that comes with the true realities of spiritual warfare that we all experience. It is not only the worship team that battles the flesh and the devil but the congregation is also fighting as they try to stay focused on God. Worship is reaching for God while letting go of this world.
I came upon an interesting story the other day from Joseph Carroll that touched my heart and I wanted to share it with you.
“I have lived in literally scores of homes in the forty years of my ministry. On one occasion, I lived in the home of a woman who had seven children and though she had a large home to care for and attended to her husband’s family business in her spare time, I never saw her disturbed once. There was always the fragrance of Christ about her life, and I marveled at it. While staying in their home during a conference, one morning around five o’clock I noticed light filtering in past the door; so I opened it very quietly and saw this woman kneeling by her piano. I quietly closed the door. The next morning the same thing and every morning after that. So, I asked her. “What time do you rise to seek the Lord?” She replied, “Oh that is not my decision. I made a choice long ago that when He wanted to have fellowship with me I was available. There are times when He calls me at five; there are times when He calls me at six. And on occasion, He will call about two o’clock, I think, just to test me.” Always she would get up, go to her piano stool, and worship her Lord. I asked, “How long do you stay?” “Oh that is up to Him. When He tells me to go back to bed, I go back. If He doesn’t want me to sleep, I simply stay up.” She made a choice to go beyond frustration, beyond the inconvenience, the schedules and demands of routine. You can be busy and not be troubled, or you can not be busy and be very troubled. It all depends if you have decided to allow Christ to be the Lord of your life and are now following Him. If you have made this your highest priority, the only thing you have to worry about is laying down your will. When this is settled there is complete freedom in everything we do because of the joy in knowing that all is well with our soul because we are walking in obedience.