The twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying, “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created. (Revelation 4:10–11, ESV)
Worship is about assigning worth and value. We worship what we assign the highest value. What some people value most is their work. The altar at which they worship is their desk. Other people may value entertainment. They may worship at the altar of their TV. What do you give your time, your attention, your money?
You can tell much about what you worship by opening up your checkbook and looking at your calendar. What is worthy of your money? What is worthy of your time? You make sacrifices every day. You may sacrifice a purchase of a new phone because you value more paying your mortgage. You may sacrifice attending church on Sunday morning because you value more your kid’s soccer game. We find the money and the time for the things that we value most.
In Revelation, we have the picture of the 24 elders. These represent God’s Old Testament people (the 12 tribes of Israel) and the God’s New Testament people (the 12 Apostles). They cast their crowns before the throne. The crowns represent their authority, wealth, and position. They give all of it away in a gesture that shows that the one who sits upon the throne is most worthy of everything. They sacrifice their crowns for something greater.
Worship involves cost. What does it cost you to worship? As Americans, our worship is often something that is done out of convenience. The idea of sacrifice is lost on many of us. This goes beyond Sunday morning. It is ultimately about following Jesus. Can you identify a specific sacrifice in your life because you follow/worship Jesus? The worship described here in Romans 12:1 (our verse of the week) is one of denying ourselves for the glory of someone greater. But when we lose everything we gain something more.
For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. (Matthew 16:25, ESV)
- Evaluate your calendar and your checkbook. What does it show that you value most?
- What have you sacrificed to follow Jesus?
- Why is Jesus of most worth?