It’s easy to go to a church service. In most places, there’s a lot of churches, with plenty of service times to chose from. The crowds are large enough that showing up late (or infrequently), goes unnoticed. The convenience offers the possibility of stepping out of isolation and into intimacy; but rarely does this happen. Cold and calloused hearts are easily covered with a practiced plastic smile.

Churches work hard to create environments like this, and they are strategic, not tragic. The train wreck is when Christians cling to this easy worship. Settling for shallow becomes ritual and habitual.

This blizzard may be cold, bitter, painful. But in this sea of the isolated, the lonely are comforted because they neither see another or are seen. They smile. They make small talk. The shield of superficiality keeps them comfortably numb.

Salvation is free, but worship isn’t. God requires everything we have and everything we are. They belong to God, but our responsibility is to give them back, this worship. The old school word for it is sacrifice. Free worship would mean that you don’t give anything to God, there are no examples of this kind of worship in the Bible.

In spite of his many flaws (or maybe because of them), King David knew that worship ought to have a personal cost. He once told a man: “No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.” (2Sa24:24)

The context: David made a huge blunder, he needed to offer a sacrifice in a specific place, a piece of land he didn’t own. He could have taken it for free, the owner even offered the land for free.

Jesus told us to count the cost of following him. HOW THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS A MYSTERY! Entrance is absolutely free, membership is absolutely everything.

Neither you, nor I, want our worship to be free, cause that aint worship. It’s something hollow and lonely; folded and faded…a whitewashed tomb.

(The contributor of this photo is Bob Jones)