Something interesting happened recently. Over my years I have had an...interesting relationship with Contemporary Christian Music (CCM for short). There have been times, brief ones, where I have loved it, and times where I have despised it. There have been times where I have nit-picked it to the edge of sanity and, most recently as well as most consistently, times I put up with it because honestly, I don’t have the energy to fight over something as usually harmless as the lyrics to “The Stand”. This week, however, something strange did happen. I was struck by the theological depth of five words in the bridge of a song called “Worthy”.
I know, I was surprised too.
These five words reveal a profound truth about not only the Lord but, arguably, a larger truth about us as well. “Worthy” was written by Christopher Brown of Elevation Worship. I don't know if this is what he intended when he wrote the words, but a guy can hope. Here’s the relevant section:
Be exalted now in the heavens
As Your glory fills this place
You alone deserve our praise
You're the name above all names
It repeats *sigh* six times in Brown's arrangement, so I had plenty of time to reflect on the words. Nevertheless, the phrase “You alone deserve our praise” really managed to strike a chord with me. Not because of what it says, that’s fairly boilerplate for CCM, but rather for what it doesn’t say. “You alone deserve our praise” of course, refers to God as the recipient of our worship, our praise. Now, of course, God deserves our praise. God is the creator or everyone and everything, so that part makes perfect sense and isn’t earth-shattering in the slightest.
However, read the sentence again: “You alone deserve our praise”
Not only does God deserve our praise, but ONLY GOD deserves our praise. Nothing else does; no one else does! Not your wealth, your success, your spouse, your kids, your dog, nothing! Your worship, your praise is so very valuable, only the creator of the universe Himself is worthy to receive it. Giving it away to anything or anyone else does nothing but diminish its value.
Why is this true? Why is it that the only acceptable recipient of your praise is the God who created you? The answer to that is relatively simple. Because that’s how you were made. You, me, each of us was created in the “image and likeness” of God. Put simply, we are God’s representatives on the earth to the rest of creation.
I mean, we’re not great at it...on the whole. Nevertheless, it’s true! You were created in God’s image, to represent, and glorify Him, no one else, and nothing else, because it’s not worth it. You’re better than that, more valuable than that.
I’ve been around the church for long enough now to see some trends. People that think they’re too old to do anything anymore, to old to have anything left to offer. I've also seen people that think they’re too young to offer anything. People that feel overlooked or marginalized. People who buy the lie that “church” is for them and not from them. People who are too miserable, sad, or depressed to get up in the morning because they feel they have no purpose.
If this describes you, I have news; good news.
The world is better with you in it.
Your worship is incredibly valuable.
The life of the church needs your voice.
The Gospel needs your witness.
Your neighbours need your love.
Nothing else in this universe deserves your praise.
Because your praise is one of the most valuable things in that universe.
Don’t give it to some unworthy, created thing.
Give it to the creator alone who loves you and died for you.
Over, and over, and over in Scripture, the voice of God cries out: You are worthwhile, you are valuable, you are important, you have a purpose.
Ordinarily, this is the point where I have a “call to action” something along the lines of “Now that you know this is true, go and do likewise!” This isn’t that kind of post. In fact, if I did do that, I think it would undermine everything I’ve said here. So instead, I’ll just say it again:
You are worthwhile.
You are valuable.
You are important.
You have a purpose.