In Matthew 2, we’re introduced to three men who were seeking Jesus. You may be familiar with them as “magi” or “kings”, but we may better understand them today as magicians practicing astrology, attempting to understand the world through reading the signs in the stars. The more important thing about them than their job though was why they wanted to find this newborn king. “We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him,” they told King Herod.
The Bible tells us that they “came from the east” to Jerusalem, which was undoubtedly no short journey in an air-conditioned four-door sedan. Then, once they arrived to meet Jesus, they presented him with gifts not reasonably priced baby gifts from a registry, but royal gifts befitting a king. It’s clear that the worship of the magi was costly. It didn’t only cost them money, but also time, energy, and effort. And, knowing the end of the story, it cost them their safety as well.
So, if worship is costly and requires our personal sacrifice, what will your worship cost you? It’s important to ask ourselves this question because the less our worship costs, the more likely it is we’re doing something other than worship.
Here are four things worship will often cost us:
1 // Comfort
There aren’t many contexts in which we put ourselves in positions of worship—like kneeling to pray or raising our hands while singing. So, these actions can feel foreign and uncomfortable. However, we can gladly sacrifice these small discomforts since we know that our physical position can help lead us into a spiritual position of worship.
2 // Time
Worship isn’t really a practice you can rush. It can take some time to focus our hearts on who God is so that we can worship. If we attempt to speed through the process, we short-circuit the upward spiral of worship and emotion that lead our hearts into even greater awe of who God is and our worship of him.
3 // Money
We don’t worship with our money because God needs it from us. It’s about our heart. Jesus warned, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” We worship through generosity because we know it all belongs to God and where our money goes, our heart follows.
4 // Reputation
When King David praised God unashamedly, his wife found his behavior unbefitting of a king. His response? “I will celebrate before the Lord. I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes” he told her. We’re responsible for worshiping God and must be committed to this goal regardless of how others perceive us in response.
When we consider what worship may cost, we must remember that the reward is always greater than whatever we sacrifice in order to worship. What is God drawing you to offer up so that you can worship him?