What's In It for Me?
He is your praise; he is your God. (Deuteronomy 10:21)
"But what’s in it for me?" How many times you have heard (or perhaps even asked!) that question. It’s a question that reflects the utilitarian society that we live in these days: what will I get out of it? Everything must have an immediate purpose or return – preferably in some way that will benefit me.
Worship, however, cuts right across this utilitarian instinct, for it promises nothing for me; it is something given solely to God. This isn’t because God needs our worship in some way. He isn’t "lessened" if we don’t bring worship to Him; and nor is He "greatened" if we do. The fact that He doesn’t need our worship is reflected in the way that, time and time again, He refuses to accept worship at any price. "The multitude of your sacrifices - what are they to me?" (Isaiah 1:11), he said to a people who thought that the mere externals of worship were sufficient to keep Him on "their side." If the heart wasn’t right, then God wasn’t interested. (In fact, it’s interesting to note that God says far more in the Bible about unacceptable worship than He does about acceptable worship!)
God doesn’t want our worship at any price then. And yet, our worship is certainly something that He desires. For worship does two things: First, it pleases God. He has revealed Himself to us as our Father; and as a Father, he just loves to hear His children bring their expressions of delight to Him. But second, worship honors God. Our word worship comes from an Old English word, worth-ship. When we worship, we are telling God how much He is worth to us and giving Him the honor that is rightfully His.
And yet, here is the strange thing: when we give ourselves to worshipping Him, things happen to me and for me, for I am drawn into His sphere. "What’s in it for me?" Nothing – and yet everything! Such is the mystery of worship. Give yourself to it once again today, and experience the mystery anew.
He who sacrifices thank-offerings honors me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God. (Psalm 50:23)
Copyright © 2017 Martin Manser and Mike Beaumont