I read an article today by Rick Warren on the Purpose Driven website about 4 characteristics of worship. You can read the article here.
Basically, Rick said that there are 4 characteristics of God-pleasing worship:
It is Accurate – based on the truth of Scripture and reflecting who God really is (not just who we think He is or want Him to be).
It is Authentic – 1 Samuel 16:7b “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
It is Thoughtful – “If worship is mindless, it’s meaningless…You must engage your mind.”
It is Practical – God asks us to give Him what we have. He doesn’t require more of us than we can give.
The last one reminded me of something we talked about on Sunday. We were studying the story of the widow who’s husband left her deep in debt and her debtors were threatening to take her children as slaves to pay back the debt. She went to Elisha and asked for help. The first thing he said to her was “What do you have?” All she had was a small bottle of olive oil. He asked her to gather as many bowls or pots as she could from her neighbors and family. Then he told her to pour the olive oil into the bowls – there was enough from that small bottle of olive oil to fill all the bowls she had gathered.
The part of this story that I was reminded of today is where he first asked her “What do you have?” When we come to God wanting to serve and worship Him, but feeling that we are not equipped to serve Him. He first asks us – “What do you have?” then shows us how to use what we already have to serve Him. It doesn’t matter if we’re not good at speaking (think Moses) or if we have a terrible past (think Paul). Everyone is usable by God. God wants practical worship – he doesn’t want you to try to be something you’re not. Who you are is exactly who He intended for you to be.
What do you have? What can you do? What are you good at? Start there. God will do the rest.