Years ago when I served as a missionary in a foreign country, I needed a gift to present to local dignitaries. The basic purpose of the gift was to show honor and respect for the person and his office. Generally speaking, men and women who do mission work in third-world countries are not respected. Few people feel they need missionaries to teach them how to live! Frequently missionaries are seen as those who destroy a culture and rob a people of their identity. I was eager to prove our group was an asset to the area.

A knowledgeable friend suggested “proof sets” of American coins as a suitable gift. A “proof set” of coins is a valuable collection of specially minted coins. With confidence I presented my first “proof set” of American coins to an important person in the area. With delight, he immediately asked, “What are these coins worth?” I misunderstood his question. The correct answer was, “Only your banker knows the worth of the set.” However, I thought he asked about the common value of the individual coins. As I explained the common value of individual coins, he obviously was offended. Delight instantly turned to contempt. A gift intended to honor quickly become an insult.

Humans and God radically differ. Humans frequently misunderstand intent. God always knows motives. God knows the difference between worship coming from the heart as an expression of appreciation, and worship “going through the motions” to satisfy a perceived demand. God knows when a person worships Him and worships for self! God easily is honored by expressions of faith rising from a heart of gratitude. God quickly is insulted by a heart devoid of faith and gratitude. What God wants from His children is simple: profound respect arising from deep appreciation. Because he expressed His love for us in Jesus’ death, we rejoice in His blessings and proudly honor Him.

Grow in your understanding of how to honor God in your worship! Never insult God! Always honor God! May He and we be delighted when we praise Him!

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 10 March 2005

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