“An Italian newspaper recently carried an interesting story about a young couple in Milan who had a wonderful attendance record at a particular cathedral. The priest assumed they were very devoted to their faith because they regularly spent an hour before one of the statues in the church’s worship area. He thought they were doing some intense praying. Only later did he discover the couple simply came to re-charge their cell phone from the electrical outlet behind the statue” (King Duncan, via Waterview, Richardson, TX, 3/16/14).
My first reaction to that was to chuckle, then be a little indignant, and then become introspective. The thought that someone may come to church services for apparent honorable intentions but be serving some baser motive may be shocking, but it is not unheard of. Jesus taught, “This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far away from me” (Mat. 15:9). Jesus is quoting Isaiah, and it was a problem in that prophet’s day, too. Think of what another prophet wrote. Ezekiel said, “They come to you as people come, and sit before you as My people and hear your words, but they do not do them, for they do the lustful desires expressed by their mouth, and their heart goes after their gain” (Ezek. 33:31).
When I come before the Great I Am, not only must I keep from distractions. Deeper than that, I must examine my overall motivation for being at worship or serving the Lord. Why am I a Christian? Self-examination is as important as any spiritual exercise there is (2 Cor. 13:5). Nobody else may know why we are before the Lord in worship, but He does. May He see our motivation as transparent and true, honest and sincere!