The psalmist looked to the heavens and marveled at the miracle of life on this blue planet in the midst of a barren universe.
“When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?” Psalm 8: 3–4, NIV.
God, the master artist, chose one single planet. Earth became the canvas for his greatest work of artistic creation—the human race. But his creative power did not stop there. God craved relationship with the people he created. When we became separated from him by our rebellious nature, he sent his son Jesus to die for our sin. Through Jesus we are eternally restored to relationship with our master creator. What a wonder!
Thomas Carlyle said, “Wonder is the basis of worship.”2 When we begin to grasp just how big God is, and how big his act of love for us, we will begin to grasp the wonder of worship. He cannot be measured, nor can he be contained. Donald Miller, in Blue Like Jazz wrote, “I don’t think there is any better worship than wonder.”3 When we conclude that God needs us, we lose our wonder for God and replace it with familiarity. Our sinful pride causes us to act like we are the parent and God is a helpless child. What would he ever do without us?
There was a time in my life when I imagined God looking down on my constant effort on his behalf and proclaiming, “I sure am glad Mark Powers is on my team because he is my MVP! I don’t know what I would ever do without him.” What a pitiful joke I was. How misguided and ignorant of God could I have been to think such a thing? God had to break me of my ego and replace my self-worship with constant wonder for him and his awesome power.
On the other hand, God is not some self-centered, egotistical deity demanding that we constantly tell him how great he is. God does not call us to worship because he craves our adoration. He is the one true God as defined in Scripture and revealed in the person and work of Jesus Christ. It’s you and I who have the need to adore him. Our worship is the expression of our relationship with him. C.S. Lewis said, “It is in the process of being worshiped that God communicates His presence to men.”4 A living, growing relationship is what he wants most of all from us. Only in the context of relationship with God can we grasp the meaning of worship.
The essence of the gospel is that our father God, who does not need us, truly does want us. He desires us not because there is any good in us, but because he is supremely good. While we were slaves of sin, God stepped up and paid the price to buy us for himself. God sent his son, Jesus, to live perfectly, die for my sin, and conquer death in his resurrection. He constantly pursues the relationship of father and child with us. This is the main teaching of Christianity that sets it apart from every other world religion: instead of humankind trying desperately to reach God, God is reaching out to us in love through Christ! How can we not respond with worship?
Miller, Blue Like Jazz, 206.