Generally speaking I’m like most folks who attend our small church and I sit in the main sanctuary. Then there are times like today when I sense the Lord urging me to be still.
As I entered church I felt the familiar tugging in my soul urging me to head upstairs to the quiet balcony.
The moment I climbed the last step and turned to look out at the birds eye view splayed before me, I was awestruck. Sun radiated through the side stained glass windows, speckling the blue carpet with shards of multi-colored shapes. The pew lined sanctuary with a deep center cut aisle seemed to echo the words, “enter in, enter in.”
I noticed my good friend Marne** manning the computer used to display the song lyrics on the big screens during worship.
Our small 5 person band finished their set as snippets of laughter and muted conversations wafted up to the balcony as guests slowly filed into the sanctuary.
Laughter, music, friendship, and a sovereign reverence filled the air.
Wanting to soak it all in, I settled into my seat, closed my eyes and offered up a prayer, asking God to open my heart and mind to what He wanted to share with me this morning.
Suddenly I heard the old worn pew creak as a body quietly sat down next to me. A look to my left revealed it was Marne, only this time, she looked forlorn.
I was a bit confused; moments earlier she was grinning ear to ear, her typical jovial self. Now, not so much. Something was definitely grieving her.
“What’s going on?”
Tears welled up in her eyes, “I don’t know why I think I can do this. I’m not very good at computers. This morning as I was trying to get all of the slides in order for today’s sermon, nothing worked. I couldn’t find a single song. I looked everywhere on the computer and I couldn’t find them. I don’t know why I bother.”
I tried my best to reassure her “Don’t be so hard on yourself. You always do a great job, It’ll all be OK. Remember, give yourself grace.”
Just as I said those words, our pastor came up and asked to see her at the computer board. As they worked quietly together I re-centered my thoughts back to why God had drawn me upstairs. Show me Lord, don’t let me miss a single thing you want to share.
A few minutes later Marne was back, only this time, her smile had returned. “Well, see there. It wasn’t me after all. I thought the reason I couldn’t find the songs was because I was too stupid to figure it out. But the pastor told me, he’d forgotten to download them.”
I shook my head, “See…I knew it would all work out.”
Tears sprang to her eyes again but she quickly wiped them away, “I know. I’m so hard on myself all at time.”
“I can be that way too.”
The band started playing which signaled the end of our conversation. We hugged quickly and Marne returned to the computer board and I headed to a small corner of the balcony to watch the activity below, unfold.
The band with its singers, ushers, communion servers and those standing to worship gathered together to bring their talents and gifts to the Lord as an act of worship.
As I mulled over my conversation with Marne, and watching people stand in worship it dawned on me, that none of us come to His sanctuary perfect. We’re all in need of His grace.
It’s in our hearts to give what we have, including our limits, as an offering to the One our soul loves, God Almighty.
As I watched the band rock out, encouraging the congregation to make a joyful noise, I started thinking about the interchange between my friend and I.
How often do we think we’re stupid? That our gifts are lame and that God wouldn’t accept them? As I pondered the thoughts, I watched my friend Jen** play the drums. Jen is self-taught and will quickly admit her struggles as a new drummer. Sometimes she is too slow, too upbeat or too loud.
Yet despite those issues, Jen, like Marne continue to bring their giftings into the the sanctuary of the Lord Almighty. A heartfelt act of worship.
Both of my friends, worry their inadequacies will be unacceptable in the sanctuary of our Lord.
It’s a lie!
Satan constantly whispers those types of lies in our ears, even in the sanctuary of our Lord, aiming to convince us that we are not enough.
But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple courts, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they were indignant. “Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him. “Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read, “ ‘From the lips of children and infants you, Lord, have called forth your praise’?” ~ Matthew 21:15-16
Friend, I want you to know this, God created you, loves you and is blessed by your efforts. God knows your heart and accepts a sweet gift from you, His child, who entered into His sanctuary to praise Him,
It doesn’t matter if you’ve been singing for 30 years in the choir or have always served on the weekly meal ministry team. What matters is your heart. What is it you want to give to the Lord?
What’s the condition of your heart? Are you worried you are not enough? That God won’t accept your efforts? Or do you serve to get recognition?
It’s wise of us to sit and ask the Lord to bubble up the truth of our efforts. Let Him be the One to tell you “thank you” or “please re-examine your motives.” After all, isn’t He the One we came to praise? Haven’t we entered into His holy sanctuary?
Every single drummer, children’s ministry helper, usher, middle schooler who helps pass the collection plate and homeless man serving communion, they are precious in His sight.
That includes you!
Let me ask you this: What are you offering the Lord in praise? In thanksgiving?
Whatever it is, if freely and willingly offered up to the Lord in thanksgiving and praise, it is accepted. This gift can simply be you. Maybe you walked in the backdoor of the church with a bunch of strangers and you simply want to sit silently in prayer. Acceptable!
Maybe your heart leads you to work in the children’s ministry cutting out crafts. Acceptable! Whatever it is that God is leading you to do, remember, it is an act of worship. A gift to God!
Never accept the lie from satan that tries to prevent you from entering the Lord’s courts with thanksgivings and praise! He is worthy of your praise and you are loved by God Almighty!
1 Chronicles 16:23-31
“Sing to the Lord, all the earth; proclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples. For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the Lord made the heavens. Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and joy are in his dwelling place. Ascribe to the Lord, all you families of nations, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
bring an offering and come before him. Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness. Tremble before him, all the earth! The world is firmly established; it cannot be moved. Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let them say among the nations, “The Lord reigns!””
Until next time,
Know that you are loved by the Father,