Over-the-Top Extravagance: Leading Worship, 024

 “King David turned to the entire assembly and said, ‘My son Solomon, whom God has clearly chosen as the next king of Israel, is still young and inexperienced. The work ahead of him in enormous, for the Temple he will build is not for mere mortals – it is for the Lord God Himself! Using every resource at my command, I have gathered as much as I could for building the Temple of my God. Now there is enough gold, silver, bronze, iron, and wood, as well as great quantities of onyx, other precious stones, costly jewels, and all kinds of fine stone and marble.

‘And now, because of my devotion to the Temple of my God, I am giving all of my own private treasures of gold and silver to help in the construction. This is in addition to the building materials I have already collected for His holy Temple. I am donating more than 112 tons of gold from Ophir and 262 tons of refined silver to be used for overlaying the walls of the buildings and for the other gold and silver work to be done by the craftsmen. Now then, who will follow my example and give offerings to the Lord today?’

Then the family leaders, the leaders of the tribes of Israel, the generals and captains of the army, and the king’s administrative officers all gave willingly. For the construction of the Temple of God, they gave about 188 tons of gold, 10,000 gold coins, 375 tons of silver, 675 tons of bronze, and 3,750 tons of iron. They also contributed numerous precious stones, which were deposited in the treasury of the House of the Lord under the care of Jehiel, a descendant of Gershon. The people rejoiced over the offerings, for they had given freely and wholeheartedly to the Lord, and King David was filled with joy” (1 Chronicles 29:1-9, NLT).

The temple King David and his overwhelmingly generous band of brothers designed for God was breathtaking, I’m sure – and that’s probably an understatement!!

What lavish extravagance was poured out in honor of the house of God!

Today we understand, through the lens of the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus, that God’s “temple” is actually within each one of His followers (1 Corinthians 3:16, 1 John 4:12). Yet, there is still something significant about the gathering of believers in God’s House.

And God deserves our very best, from hearts that genuinely and enthusiastically seek to bring Him glory! For all who are passionate to do so, we should generously give and labor, like King David and his motley crew in the Scripture above, to make God’s House extravagant! God loves when we honor Him in such lavish, full-on, 100% kinds of ways! Perhaps we don’t bring gold, silver, and iron anymore, but we can utilize our 2015 technology, our creativity, our skills, and our resources!

Think about it – if David & Co. were building the Temple today, what sort of over-the-top extravagance would they utilize? Magnificent stage designs? Fog machines? Cool lighting? Quite possibly!!

Let’s look at this from a different perspective. When God blesses someone with a knack and talent to, say, employ lighting to create specific moods and ambiences, we ought to harness this for God’s glory!

Bring the best of the best into God’s House!

Of course, some will say like Judas Iscariot, “That perfume [or sign, or light plot, or microphone, or paint, or seat cushions, or anything else] was worth a year’s wages. It should have been sold and the money given to the poor” (John 12:5).

Yes, I can understand this point of view. But in this instance, Judas perceived as wasteful what Jesus perceived as honorable.

Now, I’m sure there are churches in the world who make their church buildings, seats, stage designs, lights, and fog machines into a spectacle, for the sake of a spectacle – and undoubtedly, this is poor stewardship. Or maybe Church A is simply trying to show up Church B. How unfortunate! God sees and cares foremost about the heart, and His righteousness burns through flaky and shallow pretense.

But I believe with all my heart that such cases are actually few and far between. Yes!

I believe that many churches – including ours, CityReach Johnstown – authentically and passionately long to make the gathering of believers special, memorable, extravagant, and glorious. I’m certain I speak for many when I say that we are beyond zealous to bring the skills God has entrusted to us back into the House!

Maybe I’m just unusually passionate about seeing the Church become the standard-setting entity that she was purposed to be – and I sincerely hold that believers round the world are en route to doing just that! Or maybe as an artist, I am a strong proponent of using art both outside the House and inside the House to engage with believers and the world.

A quick message to the few who criticize (usually with good and honest intentions) churches and leaders who employ extravagant resources for use in the House of God: it is not our place to judge the hearts and intentions behind such actions, and neither is it our place to judge if such resources are a distraction or an enhancement of worship for that particular community. Because we may know of a few who have abused their resources, we mustn’t label every church as doing so. Let’s all of us, myself included, be careful to not take on a “Judas attitude.”

And now, a quick message to churches who find it beneficial to employ such extravagant resources: thank you for your commitment to making God’s House glorious! Always remember, it is all about Jesus. The moment our church gathering becomes more about the gathering itself than Jesus, we have missed the point. Keep putting your hearts (not just money or energy) into what you do, and make sure it all points back to Jesus.

Like King David, let’s be “filled with joy” when people generously labor to bring the very best of the best into God’s House!

Hallelujah!

I pray that this post inspires you to dream bigger than before, and employ that magnificent imagination God gave you! Are we bringing our absolute best for His service? For some inspiration, why not check out a previous post of mine called “Lost Creativity“?

Consider this your charge to run forward! God deserves our best!
Josh

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