Someone once posed the question to me; “What is greater…Evangelism or Worship?” They believed that worship was greater because through evangelism we minister to one another, but through worship we minister to God. As a former worship pastor I have thought about this a lot.
Before Rebekah and I got married, we went down to a local department store and spent several hours meticulously going through it picking out exactly the things that we needed for our new life together. When we sent out wedding invitations we were careful to include the web address where the gift registry (which listed the exact items) could be found. But when the wedding was over and the presents were unwrapped we found amongst all of the very thoughtful and wonderful gifts almost nothing that we asked for.
I wonder if some people walked around Wal-Mart in circles for hours deliberating over which gift to buy before they finally settled on a the toilet brush or our 10th mismatched washcloth/towel set when all the while we had made it so easy for people to know exactly what we had wanted.
We all say that we love to worship God and we prove it by singing and dancing for Joy in church. We bring “gifts” of beautiful music, singing and dancing with which we “bless” Him. But He is surrounded by mighty choirs of angels singing songs that reverberate with harmonies so beautiful they are beyond anything we could imagine. So what can you give someone who has everything?
I have often said that the true depth of Christian’s spirituality is not determined by how enthusiastically they dance during the worship service or how loudly they sing. As much as I love modern music I must confess…pulsating rhythms, flashing lights and smoke machines are not worship (this applies to pipe organs, choirs and hymns as well). All of these things are but tools we use in an attempt to provoke worship. Unfortunately, often they are more of a distraction than anything and if you could escape their clatter for a moment and truly become intimate enough with God to draw near and lay your head on his chest and hear his heartbeat, this is what it would sound like: SAL-VA-TION, SAL-VA-TION, SAL-VA-TION. God loves the world SO MUCH that He gave His only begotten Son. Could there be a more ardent exclamation of God’s deepest desire? There is no mystery here…God has told us exactly what He wants.
It is IMPOSSIBLE to be a true worshipper of God and not desire to please His heart…therefore I say it is also IMPOSSIBLE to be a true worshipper of God an not have a burden for souls. Evangelism and worship cannot be separated from one another. Evangelism IS a form of worship because through it we give to God that which He desires and has explicitly demanded and don’t forget that obedience is better than sacrifice (an act of worship).
John Leonard Dober was a potter and David Nitschman was a carpenter. Both were powerful and articulate preachers and the first of Count Zinsendorf’s Moravian missionary movement. They heard about a godless, wealthy, British landowner who had purchased an Island to which he transferred all of his slaves in order to keep them from being touched by any outside influence…most especially religion. He had determined that even if an outsider were to arrive at his Island by accident, he would be sent away immediately. These two young Men, determined to win the Island for Christ, sold themselves into slavery to this landowner and used the profit to pay for their transportation to the Island.
On October 8th 1732, friends and family members were gathered there at the seashore weeping and saying their final goodbyes and as the Island-bound sea vessel was pulling away from the docks. The account says that the two young men raised their hands to Heaven and shouted the last words that were ever heard from them: “May the Lamb that was slain receive the reward of His suffering!” That became the rallying call of Moravian missions…and that my friend is WORSHIP!
Let me leave you with this question: if we know that God has asked for something which He passionately desires, yet in its place we bring something that WE WANT to bring…I ask you…who is really being worshipped?