Growing up in the Detroit area, the largest Arab population outside the middle-east reside there. One tradition that middle-easterners have is to haggle when they shop. No matter the item, no matter the fixed cost, haggling is part of the purchase price. People that are unaccustomed to this idea get offended, and write the word “firm” on the asking price.
We were having a yard sale one day. A woman of Arab descent had her an eye on an item. Clearly, she was interested. The price was clearly marked. She offered a ridiculous amount, and then examined the item critically. What I mean by critically, is that she devalued the item.
The price was “firm.”
Then she came back again. She went through the same procedure. She left.
Then she came back.
The woman visited the yard sale the next day. To her amazement, the item had sold. She was upset and confused. In her mind, the haggling meant that the item was spoken for, and upon the next visit she would come to agreed upon price.
What’s it worth? Everything in life that we want and need has a price tag attached to it. The word “worship” is an English word for “that which has worth” “worth-ship.” What we attach worth to commands out time, our talent, and our treasure.
Some believers view collective worship from the Arab woman’s point of view. I like this song! I’ll worship. I like this singer! I’ll worship. I like these people, and the things they value…I’ll give money to this group.
There’s certainly nothing wrong with enjoying the birds of feather. The caution that we must take, is who is the center of worship? Is it my personal preferences? My wants and likes? The answer is no.
Jesus said, “you will love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind… and love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:37,38.
My motivation to worship Jesus is my love for Him.
I used to be an evangelist for families and children. We would sing these songs that required action, (stretch out your hand, lift your leg…). I was always amazed by the people who would SORT of do the motions. They must have been under the impression that lifting your hand up half way didn’t look as silly as all the way!
Let’s go all in for worship! With Jesus as the center of attention, we can eagerly embrace it with our time, talent, and treasure. All my heart – the center of my emotions; let’s be emotional worshipers. All my soul – my God-shaped place – where the Holy Spirit teaches me, guides me, speaks to me and through me; let’s be Spiritual worshipers. All my mind – my intellect – where God increases my knowledge of Him, and makes me wiser than the enemy, (Psalm 119:98). Do you want to be the smartest person in the room? Let’s be intellectual worshipers.
Let’s not be a bargain hunting haggling worshiper. Let’s not come in, check it out, criticize, come back, recalibrate…like the woman at the yard sale, we just might miss it!