Yeah, my Daddy might say otherwise, but we all got altars.
His own daddy gave him this ring, a busted up, dirtied thing.
And he tossed it in the back of some sticking old drawer. Didn’t think it’s worth much of anything.
But there are things in a life that he did see some worth in.
Like arrow straight corn rows and ’48 pick-up trucks and credibility and Johnny Cash and a man’s good name and Wranglers and John Wayne.
He always said that self-made men like him had to work like dogs.
My grandma always said you can live too much of your life barking up the wrong tree.
And wise people will tell you that you can track a man’s trail. They say that if you track a man’s time, you’ll hunt down what he worships.
That you can see it: Track your time and you always find a throne.
Track your time and you’ll always catch what you’re really worshipping.
Track your time and you’ll always hunt down where you’re bowing down.
Sure, there isn’t anybody going around saying, “My altar’s me and I worship my stuff and I bow down where I’m lifted up.”
There’s nobody’s saying, “I worship this click that makes me feel good, this ladder that makes me feel better than you, this feel-good thing that makes me feel like I’m worth something.”
But the thing is? Your words can say a lot of things. But only your trail tells the truth.
The thing is? Actions are always turned up far louder than words.
Worship is not only what you verbalize, what you say.
Worship is ultimately a verb— worship is ultimately what you do. It’s who you are.
“But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship Him.
God is spirit and those who worship Him must worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:23-24 [The Jesus Project]
That day my daddy took it in his mind to show that busted up ring to a man who knew about settings and worth?
That jeweller man told my daddy that the ring was gold and he told him it was rubies and he told him it had value.
He proved it: He moved the stone into sun, and the ruby caught light. Stones rolled and we all caught light and the ruby caught light on the walls of things and it burned amber, like it could light deadened things.
There was Beauty in the busted thing we hadn’t seen, value we hadn’t known, worth right here that none of us had lived by.
That’s what the man told my Daddy, “It’ll cost you something, It’ll cost you something to clean it. But you can count on it: it’s worth it. This is a thing worthy of your investing.”
The thing had ‘worthship.’
My Daddy didn’t bat an eye. He laid out the dime. He laid it down because the thing had ultimate worth.
It can happen, there can be programs on Sundays instead of worship, the value of the Jewel forgotten.
It can happen, there can be some singing at the beginning, like a prelude to the main thing, the “worth ship” of the Pearl of great price not really remembered.
It can happen — worship is the essence of everything. Worship is giving back to God what He’s breathed into us.
Worship happens with your hands and your feet and your heart and your breath.
Worship isn’t only what we sing; worship is only everything. Worship isn’t the add on to the Christian life; worship, praise, thankfulness, is the only language of the Christian life.
The day I sigh and sag hard over the tarnished things I have chalked up to having some flimsy value, sitting there with Keller’s words, I think of Daddy’s ruby ring again:
“If you are a Christian and you are dealing with enslaving habits, it’s not enough to say, ‘Bad Christian, stop it.’ And it is not enough to beat yourself up or merely try harder and harder and harder.
The real reason that you’re having a problem with an enslaving habit is because you are not tasting God. I’m not talking about believing God or even obeying God, I’m saying tasting — tasting God.
The secret to freedom from enslaving patterns of sin is worship. You need worship. You need great worship. You need weeping worship. You need glorious worship.
You need to sense God’s greatness and to be moved by it — moved to tears and moved to laughter — moved by who God is and what he has done for you. And this needs to be happening all the time.
This type of worship is the only thing that can replace the little if only fire burning in your heart.
We need a new fire that says, ‘If only I saw the Lord. If only He was close to my heart. If only I could feel Him to be as great as I know Him to be. If only I could taste His grace as sweet as I know it to be.’
And when that if only fire is burning in your heart, then you are free.” (Tim Keller)
I taste the snow on pines, taste the Words of His taped over the stove, taste His Word in my mouth, going down warm and living to the empty, hungry places.
I taste a bit of the grit glory in the ink that I let run over the pages of that journal, in the naming of the gifts. The glass of cold water that went down like relief at noon. The chilled apple from the porch that he brought in and handed me with a smile.
Worship is the thank-you that your whole body speaks.
“You need to sense God’s greatness and to be moved by it — moved by who God is and what He has done for you. And this needs to be happening all the time.”
And you can feel it spreading in the chest, the burning for Him who’s worth the whole blazing cost, who’s worth laying down everything for the investing.
You can feel the burning in the heart — worship that’s this burning ruby ember lighting the walls of everything…. burning the way out to fly free.
Next Wednesday, we are memorizing and unpacking the 11th verse of #TheJesusProject
1. Print Out all #TheJesusProject Memory Prints from the book of John here: Scripture Memorization for the Rest of Us: #TheJesus Project
2. Week 1 of #TheJesusProject’s Study: The #1 Organizing Tip Nobody Tells You
3. Week 2 : How to Get Through the Dark Places: #PullACliffYoung
4. Week 3 How to Live When Life Just Hurts
5. Week 4: How to Get Through Snowmaggedon & Everything Else that’s Burying You
6. Week 5: The 5 Words Guaranteed to Change Your Life #DWHTY
7. Week 6: The One Big Question Today is Really Asking You [And Your Answers Changes Your Life]