It should have been a great worship experience this morning. They were singing songs that usually ignite something in my spirit. They were songs elevating Jesus, celebrating his great work in our lives, drawing us into closer relationship with our Heavenly Father.
But it wasn’t working.
The guy behind me couldn’t carry a tune from his mouth past his nose. While the song went up, he was sliding down. When we descended in pitch he was attempting a falsetto!
I had not turned to look at him so I couldn’t judge him by his appearance, (or, I’m embarrassed to say, I would have probably done that as well). All I could hear was his voice.
And then another voice. This one from inside of me.
“Listen to his heart,” I heard Jesus say to me. And when I did I could hear adoration and deep sincerity. There was passion and love in his voice as he continued through the worship time. It was like he and the Lord were alone in a room and he was desperately conveying his love for his Lord. He was obviously getting more out of the worship than I was.
My heart was quickly opened to the reality going on around me in that sanctuary. While I was intent on pitch he was centered on worship. While I contemplated notes, he was pressing into relationship. And I realized how easily worship can be destroyed … not by poor intonation or a lack of musical prowess, but by ignoring worship’s real motive – responding authentically to God’s great love.
God not only sees through the outer man into the heart, He also listens past the sound of man and hears the heart. And what He heard coming from the row behind me made his great heart happy.
Are we to do our best as we worship? Is it the opportunity to ‘give it all we have?’ Is its purpose to display our adoration, appreciation and gratitude for what Jesus means to us?
Then the man behind me was batting 1.000 and I had been in danger of striking out.
This week don’t ever assume you are worshiping because you’re on pitch or singing a great alto or tenor harmony. God wants far more than those surface indicators. He’s listening for the heart’s music.
Give him what He wants!
“Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name.”
Psalm 103:1 New Living Translation