Churches prepare annual budgets about this time each year. One of the questions leaders will ask is, “how expensive, how costly, is worship?”
While it’s necessary for churches to plan and spend wisely, true worship isn’t a “dollars and cents” issue. It is a matter of the heart; a very costly matter of the heart.
Here are two stories about two different men, their God, and the high cost of worship. Two stories about worshipping one God, on the same mountain; separated by about a thousand years.
“After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here am I.” He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” So Abraham rose early in the morning… On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place from afar. Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you.”” (Genesis 22:1-5 ESV)
“And Araunah said, “Why has my lord the king come to his servant?” David said, “To buy the threshing floor from you, in order to build an altar to the Lord, that the plague may be averted from the people.” Then Araunah said to David… All this, O king, Araunah gives to the king.” And Araunah said to the king, “May the Lord your God accept you.” But the king said to Araunah, “No, but I will buy it from you for a price. I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God that cost me nothing.”” (2 Samuel 24:21-24 ESV)
God is worthy of our worship, regardless of the cost.
It’s true; we are to freely worship the Lord. Unhindered, unfettered, and without feeling coerced or under duress to worship. But freely isn’t synonymous with free or cheap.
Worshipping God adequately and appropriately is a very costly act. The very moment the cost becomes too great, is the moment we cease to worship.
“I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds. I will be glad and exult in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.” (Psalm 9:1-2 ESV)
Our whole heart is the most we could ever give to God.
And that is the cost of worship.