Equipped to Worship


Each Equip Her bible study begins with a time of corporate worship. Sometimes that time includes music; often, it does not. Our throwback post today comes from our Equip Her team leader, Shereen Schwaninger, in a post that first ran September of 2014. Listen to her thoughts on true worship.

Equipping you to worship is a tenet of our times together every Tuesday Morning.

In WORSHIP you give worth or value to something; worship means excessive admiration, reverence, and respect. Some of the ways we commonly worship look like large groups singing praise songs or moments of solitude in the beauty of nature.

But Jesus offers a unique perspective of worship: as a sinless Creator, living in a sin-soaked world, He shows us how to live holy – not soaking up the values of the world, but instead giving worth, value, reverence to God.

Jesus worshiped in many ways, but one that has struck me most recently shows up in the final days of His life recorded for us in the gospel of Mark. The earthly ministry of Jesus has been rolling along as a highlight reel – seashores, hillsides, feasts, miracles, healings, traveling from town-to-town.

Until the last week. Then the details pile up on each other.

  • Sunday: the triumphal entry into Jerusalem on a donkey. The people worship with “Hosanna” and Jesus weeps for Jerusalem.
  • Monday: Jesus drives out the money changers in the Temple. With the same fervor that He began the ministry, so He cleans house again.
  • Tuesday: Jesus is questioned by the religious elites who try to trap Him and look for a reason to arrest Him. He stops speaking directly to them, but uses parables.
  • Finally, He shares this caution with the crowd that has gathered to listen with delight (Mark 12:39-40 ):

“Watch out for the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and be greeted in the marketplaces, and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. Such men will be punished most severely.”

Sounds like He’s upset with what’s going on in His Father’s House, doesn’t it? It’s hard to believe there’s much of an atmosphere for worship at all in this place. If I were there, I might leave and go elsewhere to worship. I’d probably take everyone along with me. I’d certainly want to caution people not to set foot in this corrupt place.

Doesn’t that seem like the holy thing to do?

Here’s what Jesus did: Mark 12:41 – 44

“Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only the fraction of a penny.”

What struck me most when I read this recently wasn’t so much that her gift was small, but that Jesus let her go ahead and give. I mean, really, considering the corruption and nastiness of the administration in the Temple, why didn’t He step up to her in line and whisper something like – “It’s okay, go ahead and buy a little bread with those coins. Feed yourself. Don’t give here”?

But Jesus didn’t stop her. Quite the opposite. He huddled his friends and made her the example of true worship …

“Calling His disciples to him Jesus said, ‘I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything – all she had to live on.’”

Jesus let her give her last red cent. When that small little “clank” hit the bottom of the can, that was it. What difference could it have made in the Temple? Who would miss such a little bit?

For the first time in this week of Jesus in the Temple–His last week in the Temple–He points out holy ground. Can you feel the sacredness of that moment? Can you feel their wonder that it’s a poor widow who stands in the place of worship?

Jesus didn’t deter her from giving, or go up and shake her hand afterwards. For all we know, she simply walked back home wondering where she would find her next meal. (Won’t it be great to hear the rest of her story when we get to heaven? Does anyone else think that’s what glory will be like … a chance to get the rest of the story?)

The widow valued God above her own needs … and even when it appeared she was too extravagant for her own good, Jesus let her give.

He let her heart soar with the giving. He let her reflect worship to his disciples and then to us today. I’d say she got a lot more value from those 2 small coins than all the treasury that day.

Do you worship like that?

Do you give anything – money, time, emotion, energy – to God with the extravagance of the poor widow?

Every week we’ll give you a chance to enter into worship here. We’ll give you the time and the space to offer your heart to God whether it’s through opportunities to give, silence and stillness before God during the prayer & reflection time, or times of praise through corporate singing. We will give you time to pull away from the busyness, inviting the Spirit of God to speak to you.

Mind if I pray?

Precious Jesus ~ our hearts are bowed before you as we notice the way you appreciated this poor widow’s gift. You saw her heart! Please see what we offer of ourselves as well. May we be the kind of worshipers who give extravagantly of our time, emotion, gifts, and resources without holding back. Amen.

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