A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Worship

“Through Jesus Christ therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise -? the fruit of lips that confess his name” (Hebrews 13:15).
The Israelites in the Old Testament didn’t “go to church.” They didn’t go “to hear an inspiring sermon,” and they didn’t go “to hear the wonderful song service.”
They used another verb to describe their “worship experience.”
They made an offering.
They offered something to God. They offered him their praise in song. They offered him their ears when his servants the prophets taught. They offered their hearts to him in dedication and discipleship. They offered him nothing less than a sacrifice!
The centrality of sacrifice in the Old Testament left no doubt regarding the necessity of giving. Offering remains the central activity in the New Testament as well. Paul urges us to “offer (our) bodies as living sacrifices” (Romans 12:1).
But a funny thing happened on the way to Christian worship. At some point, Marva Dawn observes, we began attending worship to receive a blessing rather than make an offering.
“Worship began to center on what could be received from an experience (whether or not the music was inspiring, the lessons were edifying, and the sermon was exciting) rather than on what should be expended during a service.”
“So what,” the new family in town asks the preacher, “can this church offer us?”
“I didn’t get anything out of that worship service,” the church member complains.
“Every act of worship should be understood as a part of the church’s offering to God. Any action that does not meet with that qualification does not deserve to be a part of a worship experience” (Marva J. Dawn, Reaching Out Without Dumbing Down, page 81).
A funny thing did indeed happen on the way to worship. At least the ancient Israelites offered an animal to God.
What did you bring as an offering?

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