|Volume 24 Number 12 December 2022
Robert C. Lupo
“So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7 NKJV). God wants us to worship Him in giving. However, it becomes quite clear that God does not want any part of our offering – if it is given with the feelings of reluctance or because we “have to.” Giving ought to be of one’s “own will and free choice, from his very heart, not as directed and forced by others, but according to his own counsel and determination” (Gill). We ought to be willing and happy to give to the Lord; don’t you agree?
Giving is just one part of the Christian’s worship to God. We are either commanded or we have apostolically approved examples in the New Testament Scriptures to offer worship to our God in addition to giving by hearing teaching from God’s Word, singing with our hearts, praying and partaking of the Lord’s Supper (Act 2:42; 20:7). Which of these other acts of worship can be offered acceptably before God if we do not willingly and lovingly want to give it?
First Corinthians 14:26-40 teaches that worship is to be done decently and in order. Please read this passage and note the commands and precedents set forth in the text. Christian men are needed to help other Christians to worship God. Women are not permitted to teach or to lead the congregation in prayer (1 Corinthians 14:34-35; 1 Timothy 2:8-12). If all of the men prayed a different prayer aloud and at once, no one would be able to understand, and chaos would ensue. In corporate prayer, one male Christian leads all the other Christians in prayer, to which all say, “Amen,” meaning “so be it” (1 Corinthians 14:16). For all things to be done decently and in order, we need to have men who will lead prayer.
A male Christian must lead the congregation in the singing. If all sang a different song at the same time or interrupted others who were singing, no one would be edified. We need song leaders to start everybody singing the same song, on the right pitch, with the right tempo, etc. Men are also needed to start and to assist in passing the communion and contribution plates [if that method of circulation is selected, for instance, instead of the congregation passing single file before the communion ware and contribution receptacles, or simply passing them from person to person throughout the assembly, LER]. They help to ensure that everybody is able to participate. Could we, or should we, expect only one man to do all these things?
Planning to Worship God
If we are to plan how much we will give each week in our worship to God (2 Corinthians 9:7), certainly we ought also to plan how we will participate in the other acts worship. If this is so, the men of the church ought not to have to be told to participate in the worship service. In planning to worship God, each one knows he might be asked – he might be on the list. His desire to serve should cause him to look for himself.
Privileged to Serve
Christian men have been given the honor and the privilege of leading and of serving other Christians in their worship to God. “Privileged to Serve” is the heading that appears in our church bulletin above the list of those asked to serve. The heading is there as a reminder – to suggest that Christian men should feel honored, and, indeed, privileged to have a part in serving during the worship of God. Any man on the list is simply being asked to serve. A male Christian does not have to serve if he does not want to serve. It would be better for one not to serve at all than to serve reluctantly. There may be some reasons that some cannot serve during a particular Sunday or Wednesday assembly (e.g., laryngitis, not feeling well, injured, absent, etc.). Barring these, why wouldn’t any God-loving Christian want to serve?
No Sighing in Heaven
One of my favorite hymns is “No Tears Up There” by Joe E. Parks. The first few words of the second verse say, “There’ll be no days of grief or sighing.” The whole song is about the fact that in Heaven, there will be no tears, no sorrows and no sighing from the weariness of death. There will not be any negative form of sighing in Heaven.
Do you suppose that if God asked anyone to take a leadership role in a worship service in Heaven that anyone would complain about being asked? Do you suppose anyone there would sigh and look as if someone has just stolen all his joy? When asked to serve in the worship service, some men sigh and hang their heads – taking several seconds to answer. It is so discouraging! I cannot even imagine what others must think of the spectacle. If a man does not want to take a leadership role in the worship when asked, he needs only to say, “No.” Do not discourage others from serving with all of the “drama”!
Everything we read about Heaven in God’s Word says there will be rejoicing there. The saints will gladly serve God both day and night in His temple (Revelation 7:15). Now, note this; no one will sigh or complain about serving Him there! No one will offer any complaints. There will be no complaining brethren in Heaven. There just won’t be any! They will have long since been parted to the left with the goats.
Wanted: True Worshippers!
Jesus said that God the Father is seeking true (alethinos, truthful, genuine) worshippers to worship Him. If our spirit (attitude) is not right, our worship will not be right either (John 4:23-24). Since God expects men to take leadership roles, all Christian men – if able – should want to serve in some way. Want is desire. Can a man worship God acceptably without taking on certain leadership roles? Perhaps so. He could pass the plates instead of speaking, singing, preaching, praying but still serve. No one can serve acceptably if he does not want to do it.
John Gill’s Exposition of the Old and New Testaments. Electronic Database. Seattle: Biblesoft, 2011.