Upstaging the Boss

by Stan Mitchell
Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan, for it is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only'” (Matthew 4:10).
George Bush (the senior), who was always known for his dry wit, said this of his relationship with President Ronald Reagan. “It’s important for a Vice president not to upstage his boss, and you don’t know how hard it has been to keep my charisma in check.”
Sometimes I worry that as humans we try to “upstage” God in worship. Who, after all, have we come to honor? Are we presenting ourselves to the community as the church with the “best” worship service? Are we trying to enliven the singing in order to keep our young people interested? Should this enterprise be considered successful if we all leave with a woosy feeling in our tummies?
“Sometimes these days it is hard to distinguish praise from ‘schmooze,'” notes one writer. “Real praise happens when God becomes God again for us. ‘Be God for us,’ we will cry, ‘Speak your word so strongly that we can’t hear anything else.'”
(Marva Dawn, Reaching Out Without Dumbing Down, page 89).
Of course God has always been God. He has always been great beyond our imagination. He has always been near to us. It’s just that we sometimes miss him because we are so busy trying to upstage the one who should be the focus and center of our worship.
Worship is conducted on his terms alone, or it is not worship. A service designed to honor anyone or anything less than God is not worship. It is flattery at best, and idolatry at worst, for nothing less than the God of all the earth warrants our worship.
After all, we came to honor God, not the church. This Sunday morning, don’t upstage the Boss. Allow his warmth and righteousness, his will and word be the lasting impression that is left on your heart.

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