Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Righteous Quality

Something that I have struggled with for many years is why is it that I have so much while much of the world has so little. Think about it, if I were to go into storage (that being stuff I have that did not warrant coming with me on the mission field) and look through all the boxes, I would find an assortment of nicknacks and treasures that deserve to be buried for all eternity. But one thing in particular that you would find that really blows my mind is you would find a watch. I know that is shocking that I would have a watch but this particular watch is a special watch, it does not have a band on it. So, I'm sure you are asking what the point of this watch in terms to the point of this devotional? Well this watch was a gift of sorts from the president of the United States of America! Actually how it happened was President George W. Bush did a thing where he sent out stimulus checks to various people in a hope that the economy would be jump started. He sent me one and I was obliged to spend it as my ethical, moral, and civic duty! I went to the store and bought this watch. It was much more expensive than I would have ever paid but since Uncle Sam was paying for it, I didn't mind. This watch was for hikers and would tell them the temperature, the altitude, the barometric pressure, their rate of decent, the weather, what direction they were facing, oh yeah, it told you the time also. I was pretty sure it was the coolest thing ever! Thanks President Bush! The interesting thing was even though it was of very high quality, it still ended up in my storage box with no band on it. Well, as good as the quality was, it just never worked properly. The altimeter was off, the temperature was never right, the compass only worked if you calibrated it, I don't even know what a barometer is, the clock worked as long as the battery held up, which it did not, and the band broke! Therefore this wonderful, quality watch is now lost somewhere in the recesses of our storage never to be seen again. (I hope)
All that to say, why should I have a watch that can or can't do all those things when there are people in Africa who are starving? When the people that are now my new neighbors do not get three meals a day? Just because I live in America I have been able to surround myself with nice quality things, why? Since we now live in a house that resembles a barn more than a house I find myself thinking of nice homey touches like dry wall, molding (not mold, we have that) constant electricity, lamps, rugs, etc. No one around here has any of those things, so why is it in America we have wall to wall all of those things? The answer... I don't know?!?
Yesterday as I was praying God taught me a very important lesson about all of this. The word "Quality" is never found in Scripture. The idea may be implied but I disagree even with that. What is quality? Something nice? Not so much in terms of my watch. Something that holds up? Drywall would never hold up in our barn, I mean our house. Something that cost a lot? Well now you are probably more on the right track. The word "quality" is a man made word that basically means, you pay more for it so that you have the hope of the object doing its purpose better, longer, and more efficient than its competition. It may or may not do that. Quality is just not a Biblical term.
Like I was, you may be thinking, well what about the quality of worship you bring to God? Think about it, what does that mean? Can you raise your hands better than the next person? Do you use better words in your prayers than someone else? If you pray with quality words then shouldn't they last longer? Yet that would go against Scripture when it says we are to pray without ceasing. (I Thess. 5:17) See, the problem with linking 'quality' with 'worship' is that quality represents what you bring to the table. It's saying I brought something good to God.
Allow me to introduce a different word to the conversation, "righteousness." The Bible tells us in Rom. 3:10 that no one is righteous, not even one. The Bible also says that our righteousness is like filthy rags. (####) Righteousness means, to be made RIGHT, we can not do that, my RIGHT is like filthy rags. We need a Savior to make us right, that is why God sent His Son, to do the thing we couldn't do. We are made righteous through salvation. And we are saved by grace through faith, not of works lest anyone should boast. (####) Our worship has nothing to do with what we bring to the table but what God gives us to bring and our obedience to bring it. Therefore, it does not matter where you live, what you have, what covers your walls or how much money you have, worship is something anyone can do because it is what God has given you to give. God smiles at the heartfelt prayer of a woman in a mansion and the woman who prays in her hut. God dances to the singing of worship of the man in a corvette as He does to the man who walks down the path in tattered sandals. Worship is sweet because it comes from God and goes to God!
Do not be so blind to think that the things you surround yourself with enable you to worship God better than the next guy. Sound systems and lights in a sanctuary only allow you to hear and see better but God looks at the heart and no amp or spot light will illuminate that. Worship is the work of God in us and our obedience to give our life back to God. Quality of worship? I don't see it but righteous worship, that comes from God!

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