Call to Worship-The Missing Lamps

In a certain mountain village in Europe several centuries ago, a nobleman wondered what legacy he should leave to his townspeople. At last he decided to build them a church.

No one saw the complete plans for the church until it was finished. When the people gathered, they marveled at its beauty and completeness. Then someone asked, "But where are the lamps? How will it be lighted?"

The nobleman pointed to some brackets in the walls. Then he gave to each family a lamp which they were to bring with them each time they came to worship. "Each time you are here the area where you are seated will be lighted," the nobleman said. "Each time you are not here, that area will be dark. This is to remind you that whenever you fail to come to church, some part of God's house will be dark."

True Attitude in Worship

"They bring their bodies to the house of prayer but not their souls.

They worship with heir mouths but not in spirit and in truth.

They are sticklers for early morning communion with God but they take no thought about keeping their hearts with all diligence.

They boast of their orthodoxy but disregard the precepts of Christ.

Multitudes of professing Christians abstain from external acts of violence, yet hesitate not to rob their neighbors of a good name by spreading evil reports against them.

They contribute regularly to the church but shrink not from misrepresenting their goods and cheating their customers persuading themselves that business is business.

They have more regard for the laws of man than those of God for His fear is not before their eyes" (Arthur Pink).

Come to meet God and not the Preacher

One of the real problems of our time is the near celebrity status of many preachers. Many men are almost worshipped by their followers.

I am reminded of an incident Lyman Beecher Stowe wrote about in his book Saints, Sinners, and Beechers. Stowe told that on one occasion Thomas K. Beecher substituted for his famous brother Henry Ward Beecher at the Plymouth Church in Brooklyn, New York. Many curiosity seekers had come to hear the renowned Henry Beecher speak. Therefore when Thomas Beecher appeared in the pulpit, some of the people got up and started for the doors. Sensing that they were disappointed because he was substituting for his brother, Thomas Beecher raised his hand for silence and announced, "All those who came here this morning to worship Henry Ward Beecher may withdraw from the church; all who came to worship God may remain."

A Great Definition of Worship

One of the greatest definitions of worship ever laid down was laid down by William Temple: "To worship is to quicken the conscience by the holiness of God, to feed the mind with the truth of God, to purge the imagination by the beauty of God, to open the heart to the love of God, to devote the will to the purpose of God."

What worship is all about

One writer notes that:

Worship in our time has been captured by the tourist mindset. Worship is understood as a visit to an attractive site to be made when we have adequate leisure. For some it is a weekly jaunt to church. For others, occasional visits to special services. Some, with a bent for Christian entertainment and sacred diversion, plan their lives around special events like retreats, rallies and conferences.

We go to see a new personality, to hear a new truth, to get a new experience and so, somehow, expand our otherwise humdrum lives. We'll try anything-until something else comes along.

Come to Meet God and not a Great Man

The following true story is from the life of Louis XIV of France: One Sunday when he and his royal party arrived at church, no one was there except Archbishop Fenelon, the court preacher. Surprised to see all the vacant seats, the King inquired, "Where is everybody? Why isn't anyone else present this morning?" The minister answered "I announced that Your Majesty would not be here today, because I wanted you to see who came to the service just to flatter you and who came to worship God."

Most people do not have opportunities to be in meetings where such dignitaries are in attendance. Yet many of them go to church for reasons other than communing with the Lord, enjoying Christian fellowship, and being instructed from the Word. They may not be there to impress roy-alty, but their motives for coming are just as vain and selfish. Some think it's good for business or that it enhances their social standing. Others put in an appearance to display their piety, and some merely attend out of a sense of duty. But not one of these actions truly brings honor to God.