A large part of worship for a Christian is repeating words of praise and singing songs of praise that we didnít write ourselves.
My son Elijah was a baby. I was singing a worship song while I was feeding him his breakfast. I looked over to the coffee table, there was something there that caught my eye. My husband Mark gave me a card a little while after we were first married. He didnít give it to me for any other reason than to express how much he loved me. He didnít write the words himself, but I knew he felt them and that made the card very special to me. So special that I put it in a frame and put it on the coffee table so I could treasure it.
On our one year anniversary, Mark gave me another card. This card also talked about love, but this card was different. The difference was that we were arguing at the time, and I felt that he bought the card out of a sense of obligation. Looking at the first card he had given me, sitting in its frame, on my coffee table and thinking about the second card, pondering the difference between the two cards, I started to wonder if Jesus receives our praises the same way. When we worship out of obligation, maybe he appreciates the act, but heart felt worship he treasures.
I knew when Mark gave me the second card, that he loved me even though we were arguing. I also knew the reasons for giving me the first card were different. And knowing that, I just wasnít as touched by the second card. He bought it and gave it to me because he thought I expected it, because of the argument, not because of some strong feelings of love that he just had to express to me. The deep feelings made the words that someone else wrote, on that first card, come alive for me.
The two cards helped me to understand the way I expressed my feelings to God in a way I couldnít before. Picturing God, taking my praise and treasuring it, helps me to worship Him out of love, not out of obligation.