Let me invite you to listen to Dr. Lester Ruth's lecture from last week's visit to Southern Seminary (September 19, 2006). He spoke on the lack of Trinitarian language contained in the most used contemporary worship songs. Go to www.sbts.edu/icw and click on "Previous Lectures" at the bottom of the page.
The all-encompassing criterion for acceptable sacrifice before God in the Old Testament was the posture and the attitude of the person making the sacrifice. Jesus affirmed this truth when he watched worshipers making their offerings in the temple (mark 12:41-44). He pronounced His benediction on the widow who offered her two mites, the smallest measure of currency, Jesus pointed out that her gift was more costly for her than the offerings of the men of great wealth, who dropped the equivalent of $10,000 in the offering plate. He said that because He was able to read her heart when she gave her sacrifice. The rich men gave because they wanted the applause of men or some honor in the sight of God, but Jesus knew the poor widow had a different motive.
The apostle Paul tells us that the Lord "loves a cheerful giver" (2 Cor. 9:7). We hear that verse so often we can become jaded to it and not take the time to think about what it means. . . . The term CHEERFUL describes the disposition of the heart, the attitude of the soul in the giving of the gift.
óR. C. Sproul, A TASTE OF HEAVEN: WORSHIP IN THE LIGHT OF ETERNITY. Orlando, Florida: Reformation Trust, 2006, pp. 28-29, ISBN 1-56769-076-9.
[There are numerous Scripture passages that present this truth: God is very concerned with the attitude of the worshiper and the priorities of the worshiping community. Take a look at Isaiah 1:10-20. Does it trouble you that God declares that he will not hear the prayers of those whose lives and worship acts are polluted by evil ways (sins of commission and omission)? Look at the promise and the warning in verses 18-20.]
Have a great week.
Director, Institute for Christian Worship
School of Church Music and Worship
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
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