Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Worship (05/03/04)
TITLE: Obedience: An Act of Worship
By Naomi Deutekom
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**This story is a sequal to "To Hoe Or Not To Hoe" -Amelia's Story
-weekly writing challenge topic, "Labour"
Amelia sat down on the wooden bench beside Ma and Pa. The log structure was almost full. Where all these people had come from was a mystery to her. Did they come because they truly wanted to worship or just to get together and meet their new neighbours?
A tall man, with russet coloured hair, walked toward the front of the room. He greeted people along the way, shaking hands with some and stopping to talk with others. Finally, he stood before them.
“Friends and neighbours,” he said. “Welcome. My name is Pastor Carter Munroe. I’m glad you’re all here this morning. I want to thank Frank and Eva for allowing us to use their building to hold our first church service.”
Amelia leaned forward on the bench. There was something about this man that made her want to listen. It was not that she knew he wanted to start a school, but because he had a gentle manner and his eyes seemed to hold wisdom. She felt compelled to pay attention, even though her heart was still full of turmoil.
“Some of you may wonder how we can worship without a church or without our own denomination. Worship is more than the building, more than the moment, and more than how we feel. It is life itself and our response to God as we live out the life He has given us.” The sermon continued, the pastor making reference to several things Amelia had never thought of as worship before.
“Finally,” he said. “I’d like to challenge you to see obedience as and act of worship. Sometimes God asks us to do things or go through situations we cannot control. When we obey and follow Him, He sees it as an act of worship. Let’s consider Abraham. In Genesis 22:1-2, we read,
“And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said to him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him up there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.” (KJV)
Abraham finally had the son he had been promised and God called him to sacrifice that son. I can not imagine what must have been going through Abraham’s mind at that time. God was calling him to both worship and sacrifice. This was not just any sacrifice. For Abraham, it was the ultimate sacrifice: the letting go of his greatest dream, his promised son. Abraham was engaged in both an act of worship and an act of obedience when he led Isaac up the mountain to sacrifice before God. I am sure Abraham’s worship was not without pain and a heavy heart, yet he was engaged in worship as he offered the sacrifice.
God blessed Abraham for his obedience, surprising him with a ram in the bushes. If we look at verses 16-18, we see God’s blessing goes even further,
“By myself I have sworn, saith the Lord, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son; That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven…And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed: because thou hast obeyed my voice.” (KJV)
“Sometimes God blesses our obedience with a ram in the bushes and sometimes His blessings come through developing a closer relationship with Him. Obedience teaches us to trust His judgment and walk in His love. God does not always take us out of our difficulties, but He is always there with us. If you are struggling with your circumstances or fighting something you know God would have you do, walk in obedience. Because we cannot see the big picture, we do not know what effect our obedience and worship will have on ourselves, our families, or future generations.”
“Let us worship the Lord today as we give Him praise for this land, with all its promise and with all its hardships. Let us live out our lives in worship before Him. Let us walk in obedience for this too is an act of worship.”
“Stand with me as we sing a closing hymn.”
Everyone around her was standing. Amelia managed to rise as well. Pa gave her a questioning look. She smiled back to reassure him, but her heart was not in it. The pastor’s words had been meant for her.
“Oh, Lord,” she prayed. “I want to go to high school, but I want you more. I give myself to you today. Help me to love you and follow you, even if I never get to finish school. I want to obey you Lord and honour my parents. From now on I am completely yours. Amen”
As she lifted her head, she realized the weight she had carried since they began the journey northward, had finally lifted. Peace, sweet peace,” she thought. “Thank you Lord.”