Worship today has become many things. How can a person know if what they are doing is true worship? I would like you to look with me at John 12:1-3. We have here all the elements of true worship.
Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead. There they made him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him. Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment. John 12:1-3
First of all we see Martha, and she is busy about preparing the meal. No doubt this was an important task. If no one prepared the meal than no meal would have been served. However service is not worship. During our service for God we are busy, hurried, and usually a bit stressed. We serve God to edify the brethren, and reach the lost. Service is a necessary part of our Christian life, but it is not worship.
Secondly we see Lazarus who had many things to be thankful for. He is at the table with Jesus. The table is were we communicate with Jesus. I am talking about personal prayer and Bible reading. These are important things for how can we give that which we have not received. It is impossible to serve Jesus without first spending time with Him. However our personal walk with God is not worship. It is needful, but does not constatue worship.
Last of all we have Mary. She is engaging in true worship. The first clue that we have is that her worship is directed towards Jesus. She is not standing like Martha, or sitting lie Lazarus. She is at the feet of the one for whom she is worshiping. According to tradition of the time Jesus would have had His feet washed when He entered into the house. Still we find her worship is at his feet. She is not there to be seen of others, or to have others see her. She is at his feet to humble herself. There can be no true worship without humbling yourself. Worship is not what you get, but what you give.
The gift of worship for Mary was a very expensive oil. Her true worship cost her something. Worship is all about giving something precious to the person being worshiped. Pagans sacrificed their children in order to worship their gods. Thankfully God does not want any part of that. We have gotten away from the idea of worship costing us. In the Old Testament sacrifices were made up of things that carried a cost. Since we can not wash Jesus feet with oil today what can we do? We must humble ourselves. We must give the living sacrifice as spoken of in Romans 12. We present Jesus with our hearts. Our heart is
deceitful and wicked as Jeremiah tells us. It is our heart however that He wants. We worship by humbling ourselves, and offering Jesus our hearts.
The effect of the worship was instantaneous. The whole room was full of the oder. Not everyone was pleased, but everyone noticed that Jesus had been worshiped. The effect of worship benefited Mary longer than it benefited Jesus. He would leave the house and walk in dusty streets, and she would bind back up her hair. The oder of the oil must have stayed with her for weeks.
While Jesus hung on the cross for her sins the effects of her worship were still on her.
True worship has a lasting effect. If its over before you get home from Church it probably was not worship. If you felt good, but He was not involved than it probably was not worship. If you watched others, but did not participate for you it was not worship.
As for the long term effect of true worship. Worship causes us to long to sit at the table like Lazarus. Our time with God a precious part of our day. Sitting at the table causes us to raise and serve. Our service not out of duty, but as a lasting effect of worship.
The next time you go to “worship” make sure you are prepared. The more you humble yourself, and give the more you will receive. Do not miss out on the blessing of true worship.