We are surrounded by superficial measures of everything. Minutes, pounds, inches and dollars are the units of measure for time, weight, waist size, and income. But what of spiritual things? How are they measured? This article proposes some units of measure for our worship.
The Widow's Mites (Lk. 21:1-4)
Few Bible stories contrast the differences between superficial and spiritual measures more clearly than the story of the Widow's mites.
And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury,and He saw also a certain poor widow putting in two mites. So He said,“Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all;for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God,but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.”
Using familiar measures of money, the "rich" could satisfy themselves with the gross amount of their "gifts into the treasury." But Jesus looked deeper.
Lesson: God uses measures that are different than the ones we use.
Faith Versus Sight
Human measures versus godly measures are also the subject of II Corinthians 5:7: "We walk by faith and not by sight."
This is "one of the epic statements of Scripture." "Our life is governed by faith...not by the outward appearance of present things." "We believe in the existence of objects which are invisible, and we are influenced by them." "Faith enables us to walk in disregard of material and worldly interests."
Lesson: we must "look" for unseen, internal measures and reject superficial measures.
"In Spirit and in Truth"
Jesus confronted the problem of superficial versus spiritual measures in John 4:24. In another of the Bible's "epic statements" He said, "God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." Similarly, Paul wrote concerning our times of worship, " What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also" (I Cor. 14:15).
Equating references to the "spirit" in these passages to human emotions of human enjoyments is a side road into superficial measures. To be spiritual is to settle ourselves into communion with God, approaching Him on His level and not on ours. From the earliest days of Christianity, Christian leaders warned that superficial emotionality is contrary to the reverence and deliberation that is "suitable to his nature, and agreeably to his will."
Lesson: we should adapt God's unseen measures as measures of worship, His nature and His will.
Let the Word of Christ Dwell in You Richly"
Sometimes lost in the study of our singing is the measure God uses to evaluate our song services. Regarding our worship, Paul wrote, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God" (Col. 3:16). "The meaning is, that they were to lay up the doctrines of the gospel in their hearts, to meditate upon them; to allow them to be their guide."
Lesson: godly worship is measured by godly WORDship.
Imagine measuring a watermelon for ripeness. Our experience has taught us that a certain-sounding Thump signals that it is time to eat. But what kind of Thump should we listen for in worship? Instead of depending on our own measures, we should listen for God's Thump, His unseen, internal Thump that echoes His nature and His will.