Worship is a term we use to describe an event, or a segment of a church service, usually corporate singing. We’ll make comments how the “worship was very good today” or maybe it’s a negative remark, “I didn’t enjoy the worship music.” Few issues have caused such disagreements in churches as worship. We even throw around a term, “The Worship Wars” when describing the issue. But is that how “worship” is supposed to be? Is it a performance that we attend and participate in to a degree?
In reading the first 9 verses of Mark, I find this story of a woman (we know her name was Mary from the John account of the same event) who worshiped Jesus. There are a few quick thoughts I have on this passage covering this concept of worship. I’ll call them the 3 “C’s” of Worship.
- Worship Comes With A Cost – And being in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, as He sat at the table, a woman came having an alabaster flask of very costly oil of spikenard. Then she broke the flask and poured it on His head. – Mark 14:3
The woman anoints Jesus using perfume made from the “oil of nard.” This was a very costly oil made from the stem of a plant found in India. The oil was worth a year’s salary for the common laborer. The oil was kept in a special flask, called an alabaster, which had a sealed lid. She breaks the lid and pours the perfume on the LORD.
I often wonder if we miss something with worship. I think it needs to cost us something. Worship when we give something of value to him. It can be financial, but it’s service, time, humility etc. Too often, I expect worship to be a simple event I attend. I stand and participate or read a passage of scripture, but miss this vital point. Worship is costly. To worship Him, I offer Him something of value to me.
- Worship Will Often Draw Criticism – But there were some who were indignant among themselves, and said, “Why was this fragrant oil wasted? For it might have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.” And they criticized her sharply.- Mark 14: 4-5
The people in the house who witnessed this event could worship and rejoice with her. Instead they spoke harshly about her. The term indignant is used here, meaning they were pretty upset about this.
Sometimes, our worship can upset people. Because others see no value in what we are doing (they ascribe no “cost” to our activity) and find it a waste of time or resources. We must always be careful when we look upon another church or organization and find their worship so different than ours that we become “indignant” about how other believers worship.
- Worship is Commended By Jesus – But Jesus said, “Let her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a good work for Me. – Mark 14:6
Jesus sees this woman’s act as worship and commends her for it. He defends her and accepts her worship.
When one comes before the LORD with proper motives, with an understanding of serving and/or giving honor to Him, it’s worship. It’s not a pre-set list of activities or singing in 4 part harmony. It’s not a manner of dress or speaking in King James English, but it is a heart issue. It’s pleasing to the LORD and He appreciates it.
Remember the 3 C’s of worship, Cost, Criticism and Commendation. Worship is not about you or your feelings. It’s much more than 30 minutes of music on Sunday. It’s about Him.
Blessings My Friend,