Put your heart into it.
Ever hear that? Don’t just go through the motions, be passionate! Man do we ever need to hear this. We often think that if we just go through the motions God will be satisfied. I tell people over at North Monroe, don’t show up at 11:00 sharp and leave at 12:00 dull. Don’t just go through the motions. It doesn’t do any good.
Robert Fulghum tells about a time when he visited a Buddhist temple on the outskirts of Tokyo. The temple Naritasan is dedicated to Fudo Myo-o, the deity of “Immovable Wisdom.” Over 15 million adherents visit this sacred shrine every year. The temple grounds include a sub-temple which houses a complete collection of the Buddhist scriptures. They are contained in a round, ten-foot-tall structure mounted on a turning base. As an act of worship the visitors take one of the spokes and turn the scriptures around once. Fulghum said you have to push hard, because it is heavy. As the scriptures slowly rotate the worshipper is supposed to contemplate the basic truths of Buddhism. There is also a bell to ring at the end, to call your deed to the attention of the gods.
Good grief! But before we get too condescending at the ritual we need to consider how shallow we all can be.
There’s something in the heart of man that still wants to shift into meaningless rote and go though the motions of religion in hopes that it will appease the gods, or in our case, God. “Just tell me what to do and I’ll do it, and hopefully the ‘man upstairs’ will see my good works and decide to drop down a blessing or two.”
Mark Buchanan writes, “I did a funeral for a lady who was a Christian, but few of her many children and grandchildren were. I thought I spoke the gospel clearly and boldly. Afterward, a woman came up to me. ‘Thank you,’ she said. ‘That was so nice what you said. It was really nice. I’m religious, too. The family always asks me to pray for the weather when we go golfing.”
What?? That’s not what God requires of us.
Hey, put your heart into it. The bible says that God doesn’t want your ritual unless it comes with your heart.
God complained through Isaiah about this very thing.
Isaiah 29:13 this people draw near with their words And honor Me with their lip service, But they remove their hearts far from Me, And their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote
Not a good thing. He told David that his delight is in a broken and penitent heart, not in meaningless ritual. We need to hear this. Life isn’t some ritual to muddle through. It’s a passionate leaping, dancing journey to live. So put your heart into it. You will be glad you did.