Jerked up by the collar

What do you expect when you worship God?

Some of us expect to give something—whether it be our time, talent, money, voice, or prayers. But many of us expect to get something too—whether it be teaching, or friendship, or inspiration, or even comfort.

Today I want to focus on the idea of comfort. Don’t get me wrong: I don’t have anything against a bit of comfort. But I do have something against a lot of it.

Will Willimon tells the story about a young man on the Duke University Campus who had never been to chapel and didn’t have any intention of going. He said that things in his life were going pretty well and he didn’t want to get “jerked around” by God in and through a worship service.

That student knew, on a deep level, that God can use worship to speak to people, direct their lives, and sometimes make them change their course—what he called being “jerked around.”

In light of that, Willimon wondered if he should put a warning sign above the entrance way to the chapel: “Please don’t risk coming in here if you don’t want to be jerked up by the collar and moved to somewhere where you haven’t been before.”

It makes me think of Romans 12:2 (ESV): “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind…” Because that renewal often happens through worship.

You can’t be allergic to personal renewal and a disciple of Jesus at the same time.

To those who don’t have a church to worship in, I think you should find one. Things happen there that don’t happen anywhere else. And to those who already have a church to worship in, I think you should be open to how God may want to speak to you, direct you, and sometimes renew and alter the course of your life.

Special things happen during worship. So this Sunday, expect to hear from God. Expect a renewing of your mind that just might impact everything else.

By Matthew Ruttan

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