If you were with us last semester, you learned about and got comfortable with our offering time. It became a time where everyone gave something . . . some of you gave with your silence in prayer, others gave money, and many of you responded by writing on the note cards. Each week, Marlys and I gathered those cards and had the great blessing of reading through them.
If there’s one word that seems to sum up all that we read on these cards, it would have to be TEARS. Yep . . . TEARS. We read about painful things . . . joyful things . . . frustrating things . . . even some funny things. And tears can be a natural response to all those emotions, can’t they?
But the main reason these cards remind me of tears is because they are so very precious to God.
Ps. 56:8 gives us a picture of God putting our tears in a bottle. Think about that . . . the God of the universe finds your tears precious enough to save them.
Of all the things we try so hard to give to God, what is it He saves on the shelf of heaven?
Not our self-righteousness. He considers that as filthy rags. (Is.64:6) Think about all the things you’ve done lately that were self-focused–all that striving and working hard to be good enough in your own strength. All of that ends up in the garbage as soon as it comes out of our mouths or is displayed in our actions.
God doesn’t keep track of our sins either. He casts them as far as the east is from the west. (Ps. 103:12) It’s important that we confess our sins, but even a heartfelt confession of the deepest, darkest sin isn’t worth saving on God’s shelf.
But . . . when the High King of Heaven sees a tear fall from your eye,
in honest sacrifice,
He reaches down and scoops it up.
Tears mean something important to God. Only humans shed emotional tears, did you know that? (Those puppy-dog eyes on your puppy-dog don’t come from an emotional place – he’s just working you!) And because God made us in His image and since we know Jesus cried, I think we can assume that our tears speak to the image of God in us.
Tears are emotionally cleansing and physically healing. In one of my favorite books, Windows of the Soul, Ken Gire gives us this encouragement about our tears:
“So much is distilled in our tears, not the least of which is wisdom in living life. From my own tears I have learned that if you follow your tears, you will find your heart. If you find your heart, you will find what is dear to God. And if you find what is dear to God, you will find the answer to how you should live your life.” (pg. 195)
Tears draw us closer to one another and closer to God.
Our worship time is meant to do the same. When we gather here together and tell each other — in words and songs — who God is, we discover what is dear to Him. Often tears are the result. I feel them behind my own eyes, and I see them in some of yours. I’ve also read them on these note cards. And I pray, as you continue to learn what is dear to God during these worship times, you will leave this place each week with answers about how you should live your life.