The Antidote to Cheap Worship
In my blog Angus Burger, Leftovers, and Worship, I wrote on how our worship of God can become cheap. Sometimes, we settle to give God the leftovers of our time, labor, and resources. We must resolve to offer God only our best.
But you might say, “Okay. That’s a great idea! But how do I get cured from the poison of cheap worship?” Good question! I will answer with this simple and straightforward phrase: The antidote to cheap worship is obviously its opposite—costly worship.
I do not mean that in our worship, we must give away our money and possessions, though sometimes we are required to do that. Worship is not limited to that. What I mean is that our worship must cost us something valuable. The keyword is sacrifice. The Bible gives us lots of examples of people who have given up something of value to them in their worship of God. Let me show you some.
Abraham (almost) Cost Him His Son
In Genesis 22:1-19, we read God testing Abraham. God asked him to sacrifice his son Isaac in Mount Moriah. He obeyed and travelled to the place. “On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. 5He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you” (vv.4,5). Amazingly, just when he was about to slay his son, God intervened. God provided a ram in place of Isaac. Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son and almost did it. This is an expression of costly worship.
David Cost Him His Money
In 2 Samuel 24:18-25, King David went to a man named Araunah the Jebusite. He wanted to buy his threshing floor so he can build an altar to the Lord. The Jebusite offered it for free and even wanted to give away his oxen for the burnt offering. “But the king replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing. “So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen and paid fifty shekels of silver for them” (v.24). David cost him his money in his sacrifice—an expression of costly worship.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (almost) Cost Them Their Lives
In Daniel 3:1-30, King Nebuchadnezzar had just set up an image of gold. He ordered that, at the sound of musical instruments, people should bow down and worship the image. And the people did…except for three Jews—Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. The King gave them another chance to bow down and worship the image of gold or they will be thrown into a blazing furnace. And worship the golden image they did not. The three made a bold statement: But even if he [God] does not [save us], we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” (v.18). So they were thrown into the furnace. But God protected them and unbelievably, they were unharmed. Then the king asked them to come out. The three, according to Nebuchadnezzar, “were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God.” (v.28). This is costly worship.
The Poor Widow Cost Her “All She Had To Live On”
In Luke 21:1-4, we read Jesus observing the people as they give offerings. But Jesus noticed a poor widow giving two small copper coins and commented, “I tell you the truth,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. 4All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” (vv.3,4). The widow gave everything she has! This is another expression of costly worship.
Jesus Cost Him His Life
Jesus is the greatest example of a person who displayed a life of costly worship. His worship of God eventually led to His death on the cross—the most ultimate expression of costly worship known to man. His life reflected the words of the Apostle Paul in Romans 12:1: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.”
The examples above should give you enough motivation. May we put an end to a life of cheap worship and begin living a life of costly worship.