A tale of two worshippers
Luke 7 tells us the story of two worshippers. Both met with Jesus but their stories and their hearts were very different.
One invited Jesus to come into his home but not his heart. The other opened her heart brazenly and vulnerably to Jesus in an act of faith not knowing whether He would reject or accept her. One act of worship Jesus accepted, the other he rejected.
Here is the problem. I want to say that I am more like the sinful woman who poured out her costly fragrance, her tears and her life onto the feet of Jesus. I don’t want to be more like the puffed up Pharisee Simon, but honestly, when I look at some of my attitudes when it comes to worship, it is not pretty. Simon had invited Jesus to his house. I am good at that too - inviting Jesus to come.
However, when we look at the text we see that although Simon had invited Jesus, he was not a good host. His welcome was cold and he failed to attend to Jesus’ comforts - he failed to give him water to wash his feet with or oil for his hair or greet him even - statements which were culturally offensive and hostile.
He didn’t even try to make Jesus feel at home, but yet He had wanted him to show up at house.
How often do I want Jesus to turn up and meet my needs and my agenda and make me feel good about myself and yet I have done nothing to host Him in my heart? How often have I held back in offering Him love because I am concerned what others may think or because it makes me feel awkward? Simon is a worshipper of his own agenda, a proud man unaware of the chains which prevent him from freely pouring out love on the Rescuer because he doesn’t recognize that he needs one. Oh, Lord, forgive me where I too have been proud and been held back from worshipping You.
And then there is the woman who is all too clear that she needs a Rescuer. She knows the series of bad decisions has chained her life and yet Jesus has shown freedom to others - might He also offer it to her? She hears He is in town and has to go and find out. She pours out what she does have - love and a perfume on the One she believes can make her whole again after the years of soul-destroying choices. She goes prepared. She goes bold. She goes broken. She cares not about the judgmental looks and risks whatever is left of her dignity on Jesus.
And Jesus was worth the risk. He is always worth the risk. Because He isn’t a risk. He is a promise.
Because although I have worshipped like Simon I have also worshipped like that woman - broken and poured out and offering all I have left on the feet of Jesus no matter what those around me think. No matter how dead my legs get or how red my eyes become with tears. When there is nothing left but Jesus, He becomes everything.
So as we begin a month of embracing the spiritual discipline of worship, the worshipping woman has given me three pointers:
1. Come prepared
- anticipate time with Jesus, look forward to being with Him and worshiping Him. Be expectant and choose to make worshipping Him a priority in the day. (I'll talk more about how we can do that in a later post.) Also come prepared to freely give Him a worship that costs us something - maybe our discomfort at what people around us my say, maybe even making a regular date to worship God.
2. Come humble
- Jesus accepted the woman where she was at - sinful and broken and needing a Rescuer. He is the one who can break our chains of sin and take our burdens and anxieties if we let Him. Fixing our lives and getting rid of our anxieties are not prerequisites to worship - we can't do it by ourselves, we have to come to Jesus and let Him take them from Him. Worship is a great way to show our appreciating to Jesus for taking those things for us. But we have to come humble and acknowledge them first.
3. Come bold
- His forgiveness is freely given. He invites us to be His children and take on our identity as children of the King. Let us boldly take hold of what He has done for us and allow it to propel us into unashamed worship of Him. Let's say YES to those invitations and promptings of the Holy Spirit to pour out our love on Jesus. The Holy Spirit doesn't ask us Receiving His forgiveness, accepting my identity and saying YES to the invitations and promptings of the Holy Spirit.
I am looking forward to pouring out my love on Him this month in worship as an intentional daily discipline. Will you join me?
This October is a month where I am intentionally setting aside time each day to worship God. It is part of a year long embracing of grace through different spiritual disciplines. You can read more about the year here.