jesuspaiditallLast fall, I wrote a post for about what I see from my perspective on our church’s praise team. Our church – and I suspect yours too – is a beautiful mess of all sorts of people from all sorts of backgrounds who bring all sorts of gifts, problems, talents, and troubles to the mix.

I hear the Savior say, “Thy strength indeed is small,” child of weakness, watch and pray, find in Me thine all in all.

Last Sunday, I had the privilege of serving on the praise team again, and let me tell you – I love watching the congregation during worship. There are so many things happening across the auditorium – some singing with hands raised in praise; some standing with arms crossed, firmly NOT singing; and others taking all sorts of middle ground on how they participate.

Lord, now indeed I find Thy pow’r, and Thine alone, Can change the leper’s spots and melt the heart of stone.

It would take years to tell you all of the stories in a single congregation. All of the past, all of the baggage, all of the celebrations, all of the self-consciousness… Too often, we focus on all the wrong things during worship. Musicians and leaders become jealous and conceited about their own talents. Congregation members are judging the style of music, the length of the sermon, the amount in the offering plate. Too often, our focus is everywhere but God.

For nothing good have I whereby Thy grace to claim; I’ll wash my garments white in the blood of Calv’ry’s Lamb.

But then I’ll look out and see that one person with hands raised, that one person obviously broken by the Holy Spirit, that one person worshiping with abandon. And it’s then I’m reminded why we gather to worship.

And when, before the throne, I stand in Him complete, “Jesus died my soul to save,” my lips shall still repeat.

We gather to worship, not to compare ourselves with others, not to see who has the best clothes, not to see if my talents are greater than yours, not to see what so-and-so is doing, not because of the musicians, not because of the pastor, not because of the sound and lights, not because of anything other than Jesus.

Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe; sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.