The language of praise and worship is sometimes misplaced. In late 1996, when Tiger Woods was named Sports Illustrated Magazine “Sportsman of the Year,” his father, Earl, told the magazine’s writer, Gary Smith, that:
Tiger will do more than any other man in history to change the course of humanity . . .
he’s qualified through his ethnicity to accomplish miracles. He’s the bridge between the East and the West. There is no limit because he has the guidance. I don’t know yet exactly what form this will take. But he is the Chosen One. He’ll have the power to impact nations. Not people. Nations. The world is just getting a taste of his power.*
“Change the course of humanity”? “Accomplish miracles”? “The bridge”? “The Chosen One”? I think we all would agree that Tiger is a great golfer, but his father gushed a bit much. Earl is not the only one who sometimes misplaces worship. It is relatively easy for us to be moved by a building, or a group of loved ones, or a music style, or a memory and think, “My, didn’t we worship today!”
But true worship must go far beyond this. We can discover worship that is real even when we are alone, in pain, or in difficult situations. We can discover heavenly worship. This worship is not found in a tiger but in the Lamb.
It has been reported that Methodist minister Samuel Chadwick had a heavenly habit. Just before he went to the platform to preach, he always read the same thing—Revelation 5. These words will usher you into true worship. John, the Revelator, was “in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day” and he was able to look into heaven. There he sees the heavenly throng gathered around the throne, weeping because no one is worthy to open the scroll and provide the way of salvation. But then the Lamb that was slain appears with the Father. The scroll is opened and everyone breaks out in enraptured praise. The four living creatures and the 24 elders sang a new song to Jesus, as recorded in verses 9-10:
You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slaughtered and by your blood you ransomed for God saints from every tribe and language and people and nation; you have made them to be a kingdom and priests serving our God, and they will reign on earth.
Then, in verse 12, John saw tens of thousands times tens of thousands of angels encircling the throne, and in one loud voice they sang: “Worthy is the Lamb that was slaughtered to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” John heard every creature in heaven and earth singing in verse 13: “To the one seated on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might for ever and ever.” As chapter 5 ends, they shout “AMEN!” and fall down and worship.
WE UNDERSTAND THAT TRUE HEAVENLY WORSHIP IS ABOUT NOTHING ELSE AND NOTHING LESS THAN OUR JESUS!
When the object of our worship is clear, nothing can keep us from worship. When the music style is not to our taste, we can still worship. When the sermon is less than stellar, we can still approach the throne. When our earthly relationships are crumbling, praise can still pour forth from our hearts. And when we find ourselves alone in a land of exile, trapped on our own Isle of Patmos, we still can find worship on our lips. We understand that true heavenly worship is about nothing else and nothing less than our Jesus!
Pastor, next Sunday, just before you go to the platform, read Revelation 5. Read it slowly and imagine yourself in the middle of the throng at the throne. Firmly imprint the object of our worship in your mind. I think you will discover the worship is not just better, it will be heavenly!
Pleased with the Prospects,
BOB BROADBOOKS USA/Canada Regional Director