A friend of mine once told me a story about his kids. He had several young children at the time, and each day as he approached the door he would hear their tiny little footsteps come rushing through the hallway to greet him. As soon as the door was opened, he would find them there with their hands lifted up, smiling and laughing, waiting for their dad to pick them up. He said that they never really wanted anything specific from him, but just to be held and to know that they were loved, valued.
If we stop to think about it, isn’t that what we all want? To feel loved, to feel valued, and to be held by someone that cares deeply about us.
In the many worship services I have been a part of since hearing my friend’s story, I often think about that picture. I put myself in the place of the children, longing to be picked up by the Father. I think about lifting my hands to the Almighty, our Father in Heaven, the only One who can pick me up, swing me around and tell me that I am loved and valuable. After all, he is the only One truly able to ascribe that value!
But I don’t do it. Hardly ever, in fact. I rarely show any outward expression of my worship for the Lord.
At a bare bones, base level I think it’s because, more often than not, I just don’t care. I don’t choose to see or acknowledge how the Lord has saved me, how he has rescued me from the pit of hell by sending His Son Jesus to die for me. I don’t see how awful and sinful I was when I was saved, and how sinful I continue to be. Because of that, I don’t fully appreciate the sacrifice that was made for me!
And so I just stand there, distracted by random thoughts; thinking about work, or what I want to eat for lunch, or a conversation I may have had with my wife that morning. I’ll sing the words, sure, but that’s often just a motion. I’m a Christian and have been for a long time! I know how to play the game and how to fit in. Or maybe more importantly, how to not stand out.
But then we read about David. What we see in 2 Samuel 6 is that worship certainly isn’t about fitting in! In the second half of the chapter, we see David dancing and singing praise to God “with all his might”. When challenged by his wife Michal about his outward expression of worship, David goes on to say that he will be even more fully committed to his worship of God than he currently is, even to the contempt of his wife. Why? Because of all the Lord has done for him.
I would like to propose to you that this is where we should begin, and that this is who we should imitate. Often when my life does not line up with what I read in Scripture I have to stop and ask why, and ultimately to ask God to adjust my thinking to match what I see in His Word. The Bible says that worship can take many expressive forms, such as raising our hands (1 Timothy 2:8), kneeling down (Psalm 95:6), and yes even dancing (2 Samuel 6:14, Exodus 15:20). But these expressions all come from a heart of gratitude and joy over what the Lord has done! It’s no wonder I am not engaged when I am not considering all that the Lord has done for me.
I want us to be a church that should feel the freedom to be expressive during worship. But more than that, I want us to be a church that is so overwhelmed with gratitude and love for the Father and the sacrifice of His Son that we don’t care who is around or what they may think. We simply must worship Him “with all of our might.”