I have been reading through Dr. Calvin Miller’s book Conversations with Jesus in 2009 and came across something that was very challenging and confronting. The book is Dr. Miller exploring texts by doing an exposition of the text from the perspective of Jesus having a conversation with the book’s readers over the central theme of the text. The section that I read under the title “Show Business and Human Need” with John 4: 46-48 as the corresponding text had the following prayer in response to the text:
“Lord, the world is a weeping place. Yet so often the church seems to be more of a theater than a hospital. Entertainment has replaced ministry. I see so many in need of splints and bandages, and our triage is flawed. They bleed and die while we are dispensing song and dance.”
Dr. Miller continues with an observation from the perspective of Jesus:
“You have a taste for compassion (referring to the reader and also the crowds that surrounded Jesus in John 4: 46-48), but you must also realize how religious miracles are easily subverted to entertainment. You have seen that show-biz is always a temptation in the church. Some churches have honestly gotten into this show-biz gospel in the attempt to exorcise the demons of congregational boredom from their worship. Then they move from the Spirit’s direction to hype. Few of these mean to adopt hype and abandon the Spirit. But in trying to keep things exciting and positive, they trade worship for glitz.
Let me suggest that the only foolproof way you can know that I am present in worship is to ask a more difficult questions: Is the Lord present in the worship leader? Worship leaders void of me can become quite proficient at entertainment, but they cannot lead in real adoration. Your need is therefore rooted in their integrity.
Your salvation is an issue of simple worship; your worship will require you to walk and talk with me. This is your best hope of honest adoration.”
The devotional entry ends with this prayer of challenge:
“Lord Jesus, I am needy, and I know all those with whom I worship are needy too. Would you come to us and teach us true soul hunger so that we never can be satisfied with any smaller definition of worship than that which starts and ends with you alone? Help me to turn from glitzy praise and start to meet you at the altar of my heart. Amen.”
My prayer for you as you lead and minister to people is that your passion and praise for Jesus Christ would be the driving force of your ministry. Let us worship Jesus not to make much of us or to make others think that our church or ministry is cool, but let us worship Jesus because He is the only One who will eternally satisfy!