Going through Motions

Mark Fackler

READ : Zechariah 7:1-3

“Should I mourn and practice abstinence?” (v. 3)

Two years after Zechariah’s first vision, the new temple was finished. Already priests were busy making rounds, people were worshiping, and the equipment of religion seemed all in place. Only one piece was missing: a good heart.

A delegation of people from Bethel was bold enough to raise the question with the priests: does religion really matter? Would life be just as sweet (or just as bitter) without any of it? Could we skip all this hustle and bustle over religion and be just as happy anyhow?

An ancient question, and as current as yesterday: Does worship really matter? If you ever felt stuck in a church routine, going every Sunday out of habit or to please someone, you would fit right in with this Bethel delegation. Habit can carry you for a while, but eventually, if you feel no payoff, other options will begin looking better: a brunch buffet, sports or bird watching—any common Sunday alternatives.

Ask yourself: Do I worship because God has done so much for me? Do I want to praise him? Am I drawing closer to God? What’s the payoff . . . why do I care about worship?

St. Augustine answered the “why worship” question this way: “He himself is our reward.” The payoff is a life lived in God’s presence, with God himself. What more could you want?


Lord, I worship you today.