Intimacy does have a cost, right? Even human wisdom discerns this. You may remember these famous words: Can’t buy me love, can’t buy me love…I don’t care too much for money for money can’t buy me love. – The Beatles.
Life Lessons: The Intimate Nature of Worship
Worship is a revelation-and-response relationship. Our Savior reveals and we respond. In this intimate time, He receives our worship and gives of Himself into our lives. Nothing substitutes for time at Jesus’ feet. Corporate worship is important. But the greatest indicator of meaningful corporate worship is the depth of private, individual worship experienced by those present. The greatest worship leaders, musicians, praise teams and/or choirs around cannot bring worship. Worship is an act of the heart. It’s characterized by love, affection, adoration, devotion and obedience. What the Beatles’ said about love is true for worship. The intimacy of worship can’t be bought, but it can be nurtured. And that will be costly.
Life Lessons: The Alabaster Box
You know the story in Luke 7:37-50. Sermon and song has kept it in our thoughts. Look through it again, but don’t let your familiarity cause you to hurry throught it. God used this woman’s actions to communicate several things. We benefit by noticing!
The woman came to anoint God’s only Son. The cost to her was great. Our Father held nothing back in order to make our relationship possible. His cost was great. Jesus came in obedience to the Father and left unimaginable splendor and grandeur. We cannot fathom what is was for Jesus to leave heaven and put on human flesh. He left it all in obedience to His Father’s will. His cost was great. What does worship cost you? Should it cost you?
Life Lessons: Intimacy Has A Cost
This idea is addressed by King David in I Chronicles 21. He wrote:
I will not offer to the Lord a sacrifice which costs me nothing.
Any intimate relationship requires both parties giving of themselves in order to make it work. We understand that about our earthly relationships. So, what about this worship relationship?
Additional insight can be seen in Philippians 2. There is where Paul gave us this well-known passage:
Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.
That is worship because Christ is rightly honored, but it is also subjection. Subjection is costly. Everyone who rejects the offer of a loving relationship with the living God is pictured in that statement. They will be forced to do what they would not willingly do. The possibility of a relationship with God will be forever lost. Those who willingly bow to Jesus, like our nameless woman, will gain the advantage of a relationship with the King of the universe. And that relationship is His idea!
Think about that for just a minute. All this was not done because God needed more worship. He is complete in Himself and has no needs. Worship comes to Him by all creation. Observe:
The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night shows knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them He has set a tabernacle for the sun. – Psalm 19:1-5
Everything declares His glory by its existence, detail, immensity, intricacy, beauty, and so on. And by telling us His greatest commandment is to love Him, He points us to something marvelous. He has held nothing back in order to make our love relationship possible. We couldn’t do it, so He did it for us. Think about that.
Life Lessons: Love Demands A Response
At Simon’s table, being anointed by a woman of questionable character, is proof of God’s love for us. He loves YOU more than human words can express and more than our minds can comprehend. How do we respond to that?
Some answers are provided in our passage. What costs are represented by the woman? First, she came to worship in the same way Jesus came to be worshiped. She held nothing back. She took no thought of the cost of the ointment she brought. He was worth her investment. The cost of her actions was snide comments and derisive looks. She was undetered. Why? She was not focused on those people. Had she sought their approval, her actions would have been impacted by them. But she had a singular purpose and focus of devotion. She held nothing back in pretense, dignity, or reputation. Jesus was most important to her. Before Him, and all the observers, she was undone; she was abandoned to Him. True worship looks like this!
Worship is not a church program, a plan, or a performance. Worship is vastly more than a style of music. Worship is a heart-felt response to a Savior Who has revealed Himself to us. He abandoned all for our benefit and the glory of His Father. He asks us to do the same. That’s worship!
Jesus met the deepest needs in the life of our nameless woman. In the eyes of others her life had been ill spent if not wasted. She worshipped and found purpose. Purpose? Yes. Two thousand years have passed and God still uses her to teach worship. Step into the narrative; put yourself where she is. What could God do with you if you came to Him as she did? What could God do with a church comprised of people like her? If today’s Church was abandoned to our Savior:
- Would our society look like it does?
- Would Church budgets remain unmet?
- Would any place of service go unfilled?
- Would any mission team be short-handed?
But as it is written: Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him. – I Corinthians 2:9
Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen. – Ephesians 3:19-20
One abandoned person can’t do everything. But the entire Body of Christ, abandoned to Him, cannot be stopped from doing anything! Think about it.
Soli Deo Gloria!