Costly Worship

Have you ever worshiped God in the midst of tragedy? 

Or while you’re sick? 

Or in the throes of anxiety? 

Or in the middle of a pandemic? 

If so, you understand the cost of worship. You have paid the price of putting your own genuine needs aside in order to serve others. You know what it means to pour out your love for God—even if it’s the last thing you feel like doing. 

You know what it means to pour out your love for God—even if it’s the last thing you feel like doing.

Living with chronic illness is one such price I pay. It takes a lot out of me to worship, especially serving God in worship ministry. Don’t get me wrong—there is no other place I would rather be than playing keys and singing my heart out to God. It is pure joy. But it comes at a cost. 

Thankfully, God sees all that happens in secret. God sees our efforts and preparation behind the scenes; the way we musicians set time aside for rehearsal; the way we ready our hearts for serving; the way we pray for our worship teams and congregations before we get up on stage. 

God sees the cost. God knows. And he cares. 

God sees all that happens in secret.

This doesn’t make serving any less draining for me. Am I exhausted by the end of a service? Yes. Do I need a lot of recuperation time afterwards? Also yes. Would I change a thing? Absolutely not. If anything, it spurs me on to love God with even more passion and enthusiasm next time. 

Why do I do it? Why do I give God my worship when the price is so high? Why do I pour out every ounce of my energy time and again, just to serve God’s people? 

Because that’s what you do when you love someone. 

If your loved one had to go to hospital, would you drop everything and drive them? You betcha. Not because you feel obligated (well, hopefully not *just* because of that), nor because you get paid to do so. You would do it because you love them more than your own wellbeing. 

That’s how I want to love God: with everything I’ve got. No reservations, no restraint, no withholding. He has been so good to me. He has given me grace and salvation. He has poured out his love for me, even to the point of crucifixion. He deserves my all. 

That’s how I want to love God: with everything I’ve got.

Wellbeing is important, especially when it comes to serving. I take a lot of time out to rest, both before and after serving, because it takes every ounce of my energy. I try to be careful about how I spend that energy. But when it comes to worshiping God, I throw caution out the window. 

That’s what Jesus did for me.  

Have you had times of costly worship? Does illness get in the way of serving or worshiping God? How do you continue worshiping God when the price is high? Share your story. Let’s have a countercultural conversation.

2 thoughts on “Costly Worship

  1. In the midst of the heartbreak of losing my husband to cancer, I worshipped. It was hard. But it sustained me spiritually on the most difficult journey of my life. Every morning God gave me a Bible verse and a song to sing. Mostly I sang with tears streaming down my face, but somehow it lifted me and gave me inner strength. As my husband took his last breath, just 8 weeks after his diagnoses, I was holding his hand and softly singing Amazing Grace. We sang it again at his farewell service, and we also sang Bless the Lord O my soul (100,000 reasons). It was the same song God had given me on the morning of his surgery, which went well, but did not give the hoped-for remission. Throughout the whole time my heart desire was that whatever the outcome, God be given the glory. More than five years later, I find that most mornings God still gives me a song to sing when I spend time with Him. Worship is powerful. Hebrews 13:15 Let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise, the fruit of our lips that acknowledge His Name.

    • How wonderful that God gave you a song each morning to see you through that difficult time – and that he often still does! Songs like Amazing Grace and Bless the Lord are such a gift to us. They keep us afloat. Praise God for seeing you through, and for his amazing grace.

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