“Stop being a consumer and be a giver!”
I heard this phrase used once. The person’s point was about the nature of church, especially with regards to church worship. We should stop consuming “worship” like the rest of society and start contributing in “worship”. It seemed that their issue had more to do with the way that church worship has become about the emotion, the intensity and the consummation.
I can partly see his point. I have no issue with the receiving and consummation. However, that consuming of “worship”, especially if the Holy Spirit is consumed (so to speak) should inadvertently change us, and bring us closer in relationship with God.
There is a well known story at the beginning of 1 Samuel about Hannah. She prayed endlessly for a son, and promised that she would “give him back [to God]”. The Priest Eli saw her lips move but no sound came. He assumed she was drunk! But as she explains what she was doing, Eli says “go in peace! May the God of Israel grant the request you have asked of Him.” She gives birth to Samuel, and as she promised, gave Samuel to work in the Tabernacle.
Are you seeing something yet? She had to give up something first, and then receive. She had to bare herself fully before God.
Now, I’m not saying give away your firstborns, but there is something true about that act of worship by Hannah. Our worship to God should want to give everything we have for him. God wants to use that everything and then give to us; but His giving will help us and others glorify him more.
Many hymns and songs talk about lifting his name higher. I think that’s what they’re on about. We give ourselves to glorify God and God gives us gifts and his name is more glorified. Now how about that for our church? It’s time to stop consuming for our own selfish benefit, and start giving selflessly so that God will be glorified.
It’s about worship of Him, at all times, in a variety of ways, sometimes in ways which challenge us and take us out of our comfort zone. As John the Baptist testified: I am only here to prepare the way for him…. He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.