What Does God Consider Priceless Worship?

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Suggested Reading – Mark 12:38-44

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As the woman’s words nestled into a deep crack in my scarred heart, I had no idea they would cripple my thinking for years.

Your work has no value. Your words are worthless.

When I closed my eyes, those messed-up mantras morphed into the real fear this woman’s cruelty stirred up.

You have no value. You are worthless, insignificant, inferior.

As I wrestled with discouragement, God gently nudged me to move forward in obedience, to keep sharing His truth and love to the ends of the earth.

God reminded me that only He could determine the worth of His creations and all they offered to Him through their faithful service and acts of worship.

Even though I was still writing with a limp caused by the wounding words of a person I barely knew, I started my Facebook Author Page and began sharing God’s truth and love through mini-devotions, prayers, and graphics.

In His loving and humorous way, the Lord encouraged me while I encouraged others who were battling discouragement or debilitating doubt.

No one should have to wonder if the love-offering they are placing into God’s hands is enough . . . if they are enough.

Writers are not the only ones who struggle with insecurities, doubts, and fears that can keep us from serving God courageously, faithfully, confidently, and obediently.

God has gifted His people according to His perfect plan and uses each of us according to His perfect pace.

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10, NIV)

So, if God created us and intended us to do the good works He planned for us in advance, then why would we wonder if what we have to offer Him is good enough?

As I considered this question, I thought of a poor widow in worn clothes walking through a crowd of rich people, adorned with jewels and New Testament name brand outfits.

Scripture says Jesus watched the people “putting their money into the temple treasury” (Mark 12:41, NIV). The widow “came and put in two very small coins, worth only a few cents” (v. 42).

The poor widow didn’t drag her feet, bow her head in shame, or peer over shoulders to compare her offering to anyone else’s gift.

She simply walked into the temple, prepared to give what she had already determined to give, and worshiped the Giver of all good things.

She minded her own business, because she remained focused on her Father’s business, and “put in everything ̶ all she had to live on” (v. 44).

Jesus made sure his disciples realized this poor widow had “put more into the treasury than all the others” (v. 43).

They didn’t have to be great mathematicians to realize God’s math doesn’t work like the numerical system of man.

Jesus didn’t say the offerings of the rich people were worthless, but that their offerings were worth less than the widow’s sacrificial gift.

Why?

Could it be the widow’s humble posture of confidence?

She didn’t care what anyone said about their perceived value of her gift.

She didn’t announce the sacrifice she made.

She didn’t seem to want any attention drawn toward herself, which is in stark contrast to the image of the “teachers of the law” that Jesus shared in Mark 12:38-40.

Jesus said they “like to walk around in flowing robes” and “have the most important seats,” using prayer as an opportunity to show out and show off. Their offerings may have been substantial in amount, but the substance of their hearts lacked compassion and humility (v. 40).

Jesus measures the motives of the givers, not the amount or type of the gifts offered.

Our loving Lord knows the deepest intentions of our hearts, whether we’re worshipping Him with a financial offering or by using the time or talents He’s entrusted to us so we can serve Him.

The person who prays for a hurting friend and the person who pays a hurting friend’s rent are both valuable.

The person who makes people feel loved with a smile and a kind word and the person who passes out meals to the homeless every holiday are both valuable.

The person who helps a neighbor in a practical way and the person who faithfully volunteers overseas or commits to a consistent schedule to impact their community are all valuable.

And yes, the person who shares a hefty sum of money, the person who shares a small sum of money, and the person who cannot contribute financially so they serve in another way to support God’s Kingdom work and help those in need . . . each of these people are valuable.

No gift is too small or too large to give in the name of Jesus and for the glory of Jesus when our focus is fixed on serving God and others.

So, what does God consider priceless worship?

Anything we willingly and cheerfully give to please Him, to show our gratitude for all He’s done and all He is, to express our total devotion to Him, to honor Him, and to shine a light on His sovereign goodness, faithfulness, and love.

In today’s Pause for Prayer video, Heart Lifter Series Episode 1, I share the story that inspired this post and helped free me from debilitating doubt fed by the harsh critics in the world and in my head.

Click here to see how the Lord used my story, “Priceless Worship,” to encourage millions of readers around the world, proving that He can use anything and anyone in ways we never dreamed possible. 

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Committing to Truly Loving and Following Jesus

As I watch the divisions in the United States and within the Church widen, I cry out to the Lord.

My personal problems seem so small as I weep for the Church, asking God to reveal my wickedness, to purify my heart and mind so I can live in alignment with His life-transforming truth and love.

Still, I’m wrestling with God as I witness hate infesting communities and dividing people.

I watch in disbelief as well-known Christian leaders, blinded by idolatry, add checkmarks on evil’s scorecard by condoning, excusing, minimizing, and contributing to the sins that make folks want to run from Jesus instead of to Him.

I don’t want to drive people away from Jesus.

I don’t want to stray from Jesus, either.

So, I began to ask God a simple question:

How can I truly love and follow Jesus?

My search led me back to the basics.

“Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.” (1 John 4:20)

Jesus Himself said that loving Him is synonymous to obeying Him (John 14:15). He clearly declares the theme of love with the greatest commandment, too:

“Love the Lord your God with all you heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40)

As I studied Scripture, I began to realize that truly loving and following Jesus results in the Spirit-empowered obedience to sacrificially love our neighbors as we love ourselves.

Selfless and sacrificial love protects “our neighbors,” all the people God created and loves, more fiercely than we protect our earthly rights, our biased opinions, our political beliefs and affiliations, our traditions, and our need to be right instead of being right with God.

Christ followers cannot love sacrificially or selflessly if we’re content with cowering in the dark corners of our comfort zones, hiding behind apathy, indifference, or approval through silence to avoid conflict or criticism.

In the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37), Jesus commends the Good Samaritan for having mercy on his fellow man and commands His disciples to “go and do likewise” (v. 37).

Oh, Lord. Forgive me! Change me and make me more like You, merciful Jesus.

How often have I chosen the sin of indifference, refusing to love someone with my words, actions, thoughts, and attitudes?

How often have I chosen the sin of idolatry, placing myself above You and everyone else?

The more I studied the Bible, the more I discovered God’s repeated emphasis on loving our neighbors as a commandment not an option:

“If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself,’ you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.” (James 2:8-9)

When we choose to truly love and follow Jesus, we can begin a wave of healing that ripples through our homes and into our communities, in person and online.

We may not experience physical restoration of a relationship or guarantee an offender’s change of heart when we’re the ones forgiving and choosing to love, but we can rely on God’s just and merciful love to work in and through the most painful circumstances.

Though the road toward change and healing will not be easy or short, our mission as Christ followers is clear.

If we say we love Jesus, we are commanded to love all people as Jesus loves us ̶ selflessly and sacrificially ̶ because He first loved us (1 John 4:19).

As we live for Jesus and love like Jesus, we can draw people to the hope we have in Christ and make disciples of all nations by being true examples of disciples of Christ (Matthew 28:16-20).

Love will always prevail because our victorious God Himself is love.

But as I cry out to Jesus today, I’m praying He’ll change my heart and transform my thinking so that I can prevail by living a victorious life in Christ ̶ truly loving and following Jesus, which will be evident in the ways I love others who are different from me, who believe differently than me, and even those who refuse to love me back.

What a glorious day it will be when God uses our loving obedience, our genuine and selfless love for Him and others, to draw others closer to Him, to inspire others to dig deeper into His Word, and to encourage others to delight in His love as they enter into His eternal Kingdom!

Hallelujah!

Lord, thank You for loving us, forgiving us, and empowering us to love and forgive others. As we watch the atrocities unfolding right before our eyes and grieve over the blatant hatred destroying lives, it is ever apparent that we need You, Lord.

Please reveal our wickedness so we can repent, turn away from our sins, and represent You while living as foreigners on this earth.

Help us place offenders in Your hands, so that we can be freed to make a difference in our world by refusing to be indifferent.

As we rest in the surety of Your constant presence, give us all we need to seek peace, celebrate diversity as we stand in unity, and love selflessly, sacrificially, and generously all the days of our lives, starting today.

 In Jesus’s name, Amen.

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Who, besides Jesus, loved you into the Kingdom of God?

The Lord used so many people to love me as He prepared my heart to surrender to Him. However, I would like to thank Ms. Virginia, Winona, Barbara P., Cendy, and Miriam for loving me like Jesus before I’d even seen a “real Bible,” and while I was deliberately unloving and unlovable.

Who is God asking you to love into His Kingdom as you share the Gospel with them?

How are you loving Jesus by loving others in the against injustice?

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As I seek to fall head over heels in love with Jesus more and more each day, I am reading through the Bible in a year with the Our Daily Bread reading schedule. If you would like to join me, please let me know in the comments section or send me a message.

For more biblical encouragement, please subscribe to my YouTube channel.

Please join me in loving our littlest neighbors by ordering extra copies of Different Like Me to share as gifts today.

I would appreciate your help spreading the word about Different Like Me, too.

One easy way to make a huge impact is by writing a short review on Amazon today. All you have to do is share what you like about the book and if you would recommend the book to other readers.

I look forward to being rooted in God’s Word as we grow closer to God’s people together!

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