Excuses abound when there are activities in which we simply do not wish to participate. It is not a rare occurrence for a mystery illness to suddenly hit a child early on the morning he realizes that he has forgotten to study for a test, or a child pushed into little league by an overly zealous parent may develop a pain in the leg moments before the game. A person not wanting to “attend church” may find similar excuses in order to give an acceptable reason for the absence. One of the more common excuses is “I just don’t get anything out of church.” Such may not only be an excuse, but also illustrate a lack of understanding of what God deserves.

Typically “church” is a reference to the time when saints assemble to join in collective worship to God. It is during this period that songs of praise are raised to the Creator, prayers are offered, and the Lord’s Supper is observed on each first day of the week. Such occasions are really not times when any participant should come looking to get anything, but rather as times to give to the Lord. Worship is an opportunity to express to the Lord acceptance of His position of authority over mankind. It is a time of lifting voices that glorify His name and bespeaking His qualities as a loving and faithful God. Worship is a time of lifting up prayers to His throne that acknowledge His beneficent and merciful nature. Worship periods in which the Lord’s Supper is observed are occasions when the Father and Son can be thanked for the amazing gift of love that gave man the opportunity for salvation.

Sadly, many modern religions have lost sight of what should be given to God. Worship services are planned around the desire to please the senses of the participant.  Music is styled around common likes and theatrical elements are used in order to give the audience an exciting experience. Sermons are many times incorporated which take hearers on an emotional journey that focus on this life, with little to no talk about the life to come. Many are attracted to such events because of what they can get out of the service. Often; however, God is little more than an afterthought.

The true worshipper will remember the place God should hold and offer appropriate worship with an appropriate attitude. Passages, such as Heb. 12:28 become the standard for what is given: “Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe.” This is worship acceptable in His eyes because it is the kind of worship He has commanded. It is presented to the Lord with sobriety and respect to please Him and not self. It is given with a sense of awe, realizing that the worshipper is approaching the throne of God.

Ironically, when God is approached in worship with no thoughts of what the participant will get of it, there will be opportunities for very significant gains. For one, the worshipper will be edified as he or she joins with others who also love God. As the Hebrew writer warns about the dangers of forsaking such opportunities, note the gain that is promised: “not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” The worshipper will also have the occasion to remember that there will come a day when worship will be given directly before the throne of God by those saved through His grace and mercy. Finally, the worshipper will have an occasion to remember the power and majesty of the great God He serves.

Do you feel like you don’t get anything out of church? If so, it is time to reexamine your approach to worship and to approach God with the spirit of love and humility. It is time to realize that worship is an occasion of giving praise to the One who has done so much for you. It is time to realize that it is God, and not self, who deserves these periods devoted to praise and glory. Through this, much can be gained!

By: Greg Chandler - Hughes Road at Gooch Lane church of Christ