Worship or Play Church?
I will never forget that cottonwood tree just outside the back door of the house I lived in for my entire childhood. It was where we built our treehouse and where the ropes for young “Tarzans” and swings for young children were anchored. But, the best memory I have of that tree was that several times every week we “played church” in its shade.
We were serious about “ playing church ”— I preached hundreds of sermons and lead hundreds of songs under its huge branches. However, just to be entirely truthful, if my mother offered us treats or suggested we go get a special toy at the “five and dime” store—talk about inflation, they are now called the dollar store—church ended!
Sometimes as I worship, I wonder if even now I fully comprehend the seriousness of worship. How far have I come from those days when I “played church”? The words God gave to two of His messengers come to my soul and create a longing for Him to help me to do more than “play church”—they help me to worship. “The Lord is in His holy temple, let all the earth keep silence before Him…Guard your steps as you go into the house of God and draw near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools…for God is in heaven and you are on the earth” (Hab. 2:20; Ecc. 5:1-2).
It sometimes is far easier to “play church” and to just sing rather than to worship and praise Him. I know the words and melody of many songs but at those times when I sing, they come from my body and not my soul. Do you ever do this?
As I listen to godly men proclaim His message, I sometimes lose the attitude expressed by Cornelius, “We are all present before God, to hear all the things commanded you by God” (Acts 10:33). God, at these times, help me. Mold me and make me…thou are the potter I am the clay. Do you ever do this?
We prayed under that cottonwood tree, but sometimes we missed the seriousness of prayer. Paul was in prayer, and when in prison, he asked others to pray for him because he truly believed he would be released from prison because of these very prayers (Phil. 1:19). Do you ever do this?
We used to pretend to give as we “played church.” Sometimes, I lose sight of how my giving is designed to help minister to the needy, to proclaim the gospel to the lost, to enable the church to be edified especially in our building and to “help” God accomplish His work. Do you ever do this?
The same is true of the Lord’s Supper. When I forget the cross, I close the door to spiritual maturity (2 Pet. 1:8-9). Do you ever do this? God help me to be changed by worshiping you. Forgive me when I just “play church.”