So many times I’ve heard people say that they do their best when it comes to their worship. They put forth their best effort, put on their best show, make the biggest scene, and always sighting Colossians 2:23 as their justification, but in their hearts they are looking to receive praise more then to give it.
That verse does not say to do things with all your mind, all your strength, all your talent, or all your flesh. It says to do it with all your heart. In other words, humble yourself, do what The Lord would have you do, the way He would have you do it, and do it caring only about pleasing Him, not men.
In Genesis 4 we read the story of Cain and Able. Cain worked the fields and was very proud of the work of his hands. He labored hard to produce his sacrifice and ran to show God what he had produced. Able on the other hand raised sheep. He was obedient to offer back to God a pure sacrifice, that which God had brought forth. It was to be a message that would benefit all people as it was an archetype of the sacrifice of the coming Christ, the Lamb of God. Cain’s sacrifice was only beneficial to himself as it served only to bring himself glory and recognition for what he had done, instead of what God was going to do like Able’s did. God was not pleased with Cain’s sacrifice and because Cain wanted so badly to be recognized for his talents and the work of his own hand it infuriated him that Able, who had put less effort (but more obedience) into his sacrifice was favored by God. Jealousy rose up in him and he slew his brother.
Sadly, I’ve seen this happen many times in churches. The person that puts forth great effort to prepare and deliver an elegant or loudly spoken prayer, a perfectly rehearsed song, a polished persona,or an exaggerated action, caring more about their performance, how it makes them look, and the recognition they can get from it then what God wants said or done. Then the Able steps up and with a few obedient words sent from God himself with purpose and truth, a pure sacrifice comes forth and with that, hearts or touched and lives are changed. That humble offering may not have taken the most work to prepare or the most talent to preform, but it’s not about what we can do, it’s about showing others what He will do. The Cain doesn’t see that and becomes jealous that God has moved for those they feel have less talent, have not put forth the effort building that talent, and don’t seem to have the drive to showcase the works of their hands like they do, therefore they are less deserving then themselves. So they start attacking their brethren, often killing them spiritually. The sad truth is that, just like Cain, they never wanted to offer praise, they wanted to be praised for offering.
“And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;” – Colossians 3:23
Ask yourself, when you publicly give an offering to God of praise, worship, prayer, word, or action, do people leave remembering more what God did that day than what you did?