Is worship only giving what you offer to God during the course of your day, your week, in prayer and services? Or, does it include what you receive? Why do so many leave churches claiming they are not being fed or they are getting nothing out of it as if reception is fundamental to worship? If it does include reception, whose responsibility is it to supply? Is it the minister, the preacher, the choir, the liturgy, the Eucharist, something or someone outside of yourself, or is it God?
In a short little posting, Renewing Covenant, Douglas Wilson at Blog and Mablog argues for a balance in worship, in the giving and receiving, but one that is centered in God and no other. We offer to God and receive back from him, he argues, but to offer we must first receive from him for he is the initiator and we the recipient who gives back from out of that abundance that God has already given.
I just had a thought that worship is sort of like the tithe, where we covenant to give back to God out of the abundance he has given us. God gives, we receive, we give back to honor the covenant. If this is at all accurate, anyone who says they cannot worship is really saying they have received nothing from God out of which to give back to him.
That begs a question, which comes out of my past encounters with the prosperity movement. Where does seed faith fit in all of this , the idea of giving to God so that we prime the pump of his giving? Now that in my mind is truly pernicious, because it argues that we have something to give to God that has not come from him in the first place. It turns the whole covenantal process on its head. It is pride and arrogance of the worse sort.
I wonder what would happen to our worship if we fully understood that everything we give to God first came from him and by giving back, we properly honor what he has first given us. And, that by withholding our worship in any way we dishonor him and break the covenant of giving back the covenanted portion of what we have received.
Grace and peace to your day and tomorrow may your portion of corporate worship reflect your willingness to give back the proper portion of what you have received to God our Father.