Sunday, June 10, 2012

Worship: A Parable

And it came to pass that one Sunday morning two men headed out to their church to worship.

The first man arrived early, casting up a prayer of thanksgiving as he pulled into the parking space closest to the door. He entered the church with a spring in his step, his heart glad, expecting great things. He helped himself to a hot cup of coffee and carried it into the auditorium. He took his usual place in the second row and sipped his coffee as he perused his bulletin. 

Then he prepared his heart to worship with a silent prayer that went something like this: 

"Lord, I thank you for air conditioning and comfortable seats. I thank you for talented musicians and an eloquent preacher. But most of all I thank you for the warm, fuzzy feeling I get when I sit in your presence and bask in your goodness!"

The second man arrived at the church several minutes late. He parked at the far end of the lot and entered the building rumpled and hurried because he had stopped to help a stranger change a flat tire on his way. He headed for the refreshment table, but the coffee was gone; so he helped the women carry the empty pots back to the kitchen. He headed down the hallway toward the auditorium, passing the toddler room on the way. A quick glance through the window revealed an unusually large number of children and a rather haggard looking young couple supervising their play. Pausing, the man looked down the hall toward the auditorium. The music had already started and the worship team was leading the congregation in one of his favorite choruses. 

He looked back through the glass at the young couple in the toddler room and cast up a silent prayer that went something like this: 

"Lord, you know I love you; but I just can't go into that service and sit in a comfortable chair in an air conditioned room enjoying the music and the preaching knowing that these young people are struggling out here. I hope you understand. I'll worship you next week." With that he opened the door and asked, "How can I help?"

Verily I say unto you that this man and not the other truly worshipped the Lord that Sunday morning.