Have you ever given someone a gift with a certain purpose in mind? “I’m giving you this gift card so that you will treat YOURSELF and not spend it on your kids.” “I’m taking you out SO THAT you can have a night off and not worry about things.”
But then the person spent the gift card on things for her kids. Or then the person ended up spending the whole night out talking about worries at work. Or just didn’t use what you gave in the way you were intending…You feel a little bummed that the purpose of your gift wasn’t realized. You think of what that person missed out on.
Many of us are living this out every day of our lives. We are the person missing the purpose.
This past week I started reading through the book of Hebrews in the Bible. I love this book. God is just bragging on His Son in this book and letting us know all the wonderful realities we have in Jesus. But you get to chapter nine and it says this:
“Just think how much more the blood of Jesus Christ will purify our hearts from deeds that lead to death so that we can worship the living God” (emphasis mine).
The Easter holiday is approaching. That day when we think about Jesus dying on the cross for us and then rising again. People seem to loosely acknowledge this (many people just skip over this reason for Easter altogether, I’m not entirely sure WHAT they say Easter is for…)
So what IS it for? Yes to purify our hearts, but why?
So that we can have someone to ask for a better house.
So that we have someone to pray to when something bad happens.
So that we can live as though God doesn’t really exist.
“So that we can worship the living God.”
Why does that answer seem to bum us out? Most of us would rather have some immediate tangible gratification. We’d like our lives to be happy and fun and for there to be little to no stress. We’d like for God to not really interfere unless it’s to keep our plane in the air, kill off cancer cells, and maybe help our team win.
But what if the “so that” said something else…what if it said something like:
So that you can stand in front of the Grand Canyon and marvel at its size and beauty.
So that you can see the sunset over a white sand beach and feel your soul moved at its brilliance.
So that you can hike the side of waterfalls that sound like they might crush you.
So that you can experience awe and wonder, something bigger and better than you.
Guess what- the biggest object of wonder and beauty and awe, where you might lose yourself in the greatness of something else and have the joy of self-forgetfulness- is not an object at all, but a person. And not just a person but THE person, who was and is and always will be, the maker of all other persons, God Himself.
And we are invited in to worship Him and to know Him.
I have read most of ‘The Chronicles of Narnia”, as well as “The Screwtape Letters”, “Mere Christianity”, and several others of C.S. Lewis’ works. And after every read I think “I would LOVE to meet him.” I think “what a brilliant and creative mind that could take the mystery of the gospel and write it in a way children can grasp it, who re-imagined Jesus as a Lion named Aslan who brings a real tenderness to our hearts. I’d love to sit at his dinner table and listen to him talk to his friends.” His creation-his books, makes me want to know the creator, him. If that is my response to a few books, what ought my response be to the one who made words, who created language and invented story, who spoke the galaxies into place, who invented whale sharks and platypuses and sunflowers?
I get to interact with the one who is the source of love, joy, laughter, happiness, humor, friendship, compassion, and charity.
Why? Why should I get that? Me with my petty jealousies and impatience and inconsistencies? I could never deserve that. It is a gift of love.
It is a gift that I want to receive for its intended purpose.
What “So that” Are You Living Out?
So I ask you, what are you doing with the gift? What “So that” is being lived out in your life? The wonderful news is that if we are not living out “so that we may worship the living God” we have only to ask that same living God for the help to worship Him!
He encourages us elsewhere in Hebrews:
“For the word of God is full of living power. It is sharper than the sharpest knife, cutting deep into our innermost thoughts and desires. It exposes us for what we really are. Nothing in all creation can hide from Him. Everything is naked and exposed before His eyes. This is the God to whom we must explain all that we have done.
That is why we have a great High Priest who has gone to heaven. Jesus, the Son of God. Let us cling to Him and never stop trusting Him.
This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for He faced all of the same temptations we do, yet He did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive His mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it.”
We see from this that we can:
- Go to His Word. It will help us to see which “so that” we are living out. It will also tell us more about this Awesome God we are to worship
- Go to Jesus- let Him be your Savior, Recognize Him as your High Priest who has already paid your debt for you.
- Boldly ask for his grace to help us to know Him, to worship Him, to enjoy Him.
So let’s enjoy our gift, enjoy it for all it’s worth, let’s worship the Living God.