“I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God – what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:1-2)
I believe that God is worthy of worship. Not simply a nod of the head, or a plea for help, or an expectation to get a leg-up in the world. As the song says, “Our God is an awesome God!” God is so awesome that he comes to us in his Son, Jesus, in utter humility and suffering on the Cross, in order to set us free to be his children forever. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
The most authentic response to God’s grace, God’s undeserved love, is worship: the wholehearted, unreserved surrender to God in thanksgiving, praise, obedience, and service. In Romans 12, St. Paul links our worship of God to our love and care for our brothers and sisters in the world. Only God, through his Holy Spirit, can work the transformation in our hearts that will empower us to worship God in a way that truly reflects God’s own nature, which is unconditional love.
When I pledge my financial giving to the church, I do so as an act of worship – that is, as a response to God’s grace in my life. It took a long time for God to transform my understanding of giving to be an act of worship and complete surrender. My very first pledge was $60.00, or $5 per month. I thought that was going to kill me! And you know what? It did! It crucified a tiny bit of my self-centered, fear-controlled way of dealing with my money – my idolatry of my money. It was my baby step toward a fuller response to God’s grace in worship.
Today, many years later, I am excited to embrace the Biblical principle of tithing – the giving of ten percent of my gross income back to God in worship. I know now that this does not earn me any favors from God or any more love from God than I was being given before I ever pledged $60. Yet I have more joy, more sense of fulfillment and completion, more love and more desire to serve, because God’s grace is constantly calling me to a fuller surrender.
From beginning to end, the worship of God is made possible by God, so that we may be “reborn” to become children of God! “I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”
Grace and peace,
Trinity United Methodist Church
3430 Harrison | Beaumont, TX 77706
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