The Importance of Being Earnest (in Worship)
A century ago, Oscar Wilde wrote a story about respectable and responsible Jack Worthing. Jack is a good man with an irresponsible (and imaginary) brother named Earnest who lives a decadent life and constantly needs Jack to rescue him. But it seems that every time Jack leaves for several days to "rescue" Earnest, he’s actually sneaking off to London to do everything his scandalous fake brother Earnest is accused of doing.
We all know people who live a double life — partying like Earnest on Saturday night, then pretending to be a God-honoring Jack Worthing on Sunday morning. And we all know God deserves more than that.
I don't know if Oscar Wilde read much of the Bible, but Scripture affirms the importance of being earnest, specifically the importance of earnestly seeking God.
"O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water." (Psalm 63:1)
Question: What does it mean to earnestly seek God? Answer: Verse 2 and 6 explain two aspects of earnestly seeking God.
Psalm 63:2 "I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory." Psalm 63:6 “On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night."
Here's how and where we should earnestly seek God:
1. "In the sanctuary" - at corporate worship services with our church community 2. "On my bed" - at home, alone in private worship
Both public and private worship and prayer are vital for people who want to seek God earnestly. In other words, we should get up and go to church every Sunday, and we should get up and read our Bible every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Every day.
That's what it means to earnestly seek God, and it’s important.
Every week, worship leaders, music directors, church musicians, and worship songwriters have a great privilege and a great responsibility to help the Jacks and the Earnests of the world earnestly seek God in corporate public worship. And hopefully, earnest corporate worship will inspire earnest private worship.