Doubting Worship

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                                        July 31, 2012


I find myself reading The Message paraphrase of the Bible more and more. I’m amazed at how a passage that I’ve read over and over again will suddenly take on a new meaning when I read it in The Message. One of the passages that hit me recently was Matthew 28:16-17. Here’s how it reads:

Meanwhile, the eleven disciples were on their way to Galilee, headed for the mountain Jesus had set for their reunion. The moment they saw him they worshiped him. Some, though, held back, not sure about worship, about risking themselves totally.”  (Matthew 28:16-17)

Of course, the next verse is the Great Commissioning of Jesus of the disciples.

…not sure about worship, about risking themselves totally.”

If the disciples, who experienced the risen Lord, weren’t sure about totally risking their lives, it seems that I don’t have to have all the “t’s” crossed and “i’s” dotted before I proceed in my faith journey.    I have been freed from having to have all the answers. I’ve been freed from having to do all the work myself. I’ve even been freed from having to be completely sold out to the Lord…body, soul, and mind!

Many may argue that point. It is either all in or all out. It seems, however, that we ridicule the doubts  of many to the point that they submit to the Lord out of guilt. I recognize that there are pivotal decision points where we choose to acknowledge Jesus as Lord or deny we ever knew him. As time proceeds on there may be more than a few of us who will face a life or death choice that is connected to that proclamation or denial.

While we are between the “here” (our commitment to being one of his followers) and the “there”   (that point of standing with him or standing against him) however, there is a lot of…uncertainty. There is a tremendous amount of wavering.

It’s interesting to me that the doubting followers of Jesus in these verses are never identified. We might guess that one was Thomas, but Thomas’s doubt displayed in the Gospel of John was tied to his not being present when Jesus first appeared to the other disciples.

Some doubted…but they were all his disciples.

Jesus knew of the sense of reluctance of his closest followers, and yet he gave them the commission. Wait a minute! Jesus knew that there wasn’t total buy-in and yet he still imparted…delegated…the greatest commission that the church has ever been given ownership to!

If it was anyone else we might be inclined to say “What was he thinking?”

The Great Commissioning after the half-hearted willingness to risk may be an indication of the grace of God evidenced. It’s is somewhat comforting to know that Jesus didn’t ask the disciples to sign a contract before he gave them the commission. He didn’t ask for a franchise fee. He gave them a command…these followers who were all at different places on their journeys.

The longer I’m in the ministry as a pastor of a flock the more it seems that the journey of faith is more about the questions, the apprehensions, the fears, and the doubts, and less about the answers.

Strange, but that is peacefully unsettling!

Explore posts in the same categories: Christianity, Community, Faith, Freedom, Grace, Prayer, Story, The Church, Uncategorized

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3 Comments on “Doubting Worship”

  1. God gives us emotions, that’s how He wired us…. to not allow those feelings… like doubt, anger, hurt, etc would take away of what and who we are. Granted we have to learn to deal with feelings, bring them into a balance with our “logic” side but that doesn’t mean they are never there. Spending a week with middle school kids at camp has taught me that :-)… Not following the emotion to want to strangle some of them, but to learn to love them “where they are”. I know that God loves me and uses me to further His kingdom even though I doubt and fail and fall… it’s up to me to remember that I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength…. So I should do no less for people around me, Christian or not….


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