The parking lot’s empty. Church buildings are spooky when they’re empty, but they’re empty right now. It’s Monday morning. You’re off to work or back in class or trying to maintain some sort of order at home with your preschooler. You went to church yesterday. Did you “get anything out of it?”
I know, we don’t “go to church to get something out of it.” Victoria Osteen was dead wrong and Bill Cosby was exactly right. We worship because God is worthy, not because He’s all about us. But, isn’t there something to the thought that when we submit ourselves in worship He is gracious to fill us up? We don’t walk in with that mentality, but we do receive when our hearts are aligned to see Jesus. After all, in His presence is fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11). Our hearts burn when we talk to Jesus and He opens the Scriptures for us (Luke 24:32).
Yesterday as I worshiped I was reminded that what we receive in worship has a lot to do with the condition of our hearts when we walked in.
If we walked in prepared - we received. If we had been in the Word for ourselves this week, if we had lived on mission this week, if we woke up on time to get there on time, we received.
If we walked in broken - we received. If we had no more strength to go on, if we received terrible news and wondered where God is, if we were empty and truly turned to Jesus, we received.
If we walked in with questions - we received. If we were truly open to what the Scriptures say about who Jesus is, He is faithful to meet us, and we received.
If we walked in, you know, doing fine - we did not receive. If we were not in the Word because we were doing fine on our own, if we pretty much have things squared away at home, if we thought we should be proud because this week we were only 7 minutes late, I’m guessing we did not receive.
A question worth wrestling with: How many people were in your church yesterday in each category? I suspect the broad majority were in the last.
A better question: which category were you in?
All this isn’t necessarily scientifically accurate. I know there are broken people who left broken, but Jesus is faithful to meet us in our brokenness. As a pastor, I know I can’t feed everyone every week, but I know the consistently unfolding of the Word gives light.
Did you “get anything out of” church yesterday?