“Good Enough” Worship
“Good Enough” Worship
When you practice an activity long enough, you eventually gain the ability to participate without the effort of the mind. For instance, I can remember when I used to weld for a profession. At first, it was a daunting task mainly because the risk of death is ever present. If you ground yourself out to the work, you essentially have upwards of 120 amps running through your body. One amp is enough to stop the heart, so there needs to be great caution with such a work. However, as time went on, I gained muscle memory. I eventually got to the point to where I would almost fall asleep when performing certain welds. Time became the enabler for me to place my mind elsewhere.
The Babylonian captivity was a very dark segment in the Jewish timeline. Slavery, labor, abuse, and belittlement occurred for dozens of years with almost no end in sight. When Cyrus the Great conquered Babylon, he inherited the Jewish population. He made a decree and allowed the people to return to Jerusalem in 538BC. As is the case with any liberty, the Jewish people were overwhelmed with joy and relief. However, as time progressed the people got complacent with their worship to God.
Malachi was dealing with the post-captivity people. He states that their offerings in the temple were shameful (1:8; 13). Their worship consisted of offering animals that were sick, lame, blind, or taken by violence. In short, the people got lazy with their worship to God. They grabbed the first animal they saw and promoted a "good enough" worship. God responded, "shall I accept that from your hand?? Cursed be the cheat who has a male in his flock, vows it, and yet sacrifices to the Lord what is blemished."
Christian worship is unique from the Old Testament because we offer the sacrifice of our praise rather than animal offerings (Heb. 13:15). Yet we can still fall victim to what Malachi was describing; a "good enough" worship. As time goes on, it gets easier to remove our mind from what it is that we're doing. When we appear before God on the first day of the week, what is the condition of mind that we're bringing?
A sleepy mind can make us miss the opportunity of engaged worship. A busy mind can distract from the greatness of the One we're worshipping. A negative mind can grumble about the song selection or long-winded prayer. What about a resentful mind? Perhaps this is the most toxic of them all. Our Lord, in Matthew 5:21-14, commands the individual to be absent from the altar until the wrongs are made right. The experience of pure, proper worship is something that far supersedes time and will last us into eternity. In just a few days, you have the chance to go before God with an undivided mind and recalibrate your soul.