From the Heart head image

From the Heart

November 19, 2023

Dr. Paul Cannings

Thanksgiving is a form of worship that can truly bring joy to the heart of the worshipper when it comes from the heart (Psalm 34:1-3) and not just because of the season (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). What do I mean by this?

I am always amazed at the picture of Lazarus sitting near Jesus with Mary on the floor, pouring her heart out to Christ in John 12:1-8. The disciples also shared a seat near the honored guest, Jesus, while Judas complained about Mary’s lavish worship. How can anyone be this composed when most people died at the age of 45 during the time of Jesus on earth. Jesus raised Lazarus from the grave after four days? How could a resurrection occur in these conditions, and Christ only gains one true worshipper? The same with Paul, who, once he realized what Christ meant to him, counted all things lost (Philippians 3:1-6). When this occurs, it has to do with the pure meaning of worship.

Worship occurs when we highlight the worth or value of the person being magnified. Before Christ came to Mary, she wept over her brother’s death. After her brother Lazarus’s  resurrection, she worshipped Christ. She was mad that Jesus took a long time to come because she believed that He loved them and would do anything to help them, including healing their brother from his sickness. Christ did not come until after her brother had died. After her brother is resurrected, Mary understands that there is nothing Christ cannot do. No one, even Elijah, had ever done this. To everyone, He is the Messiah who will reestablish the Davidic Kingdom (This is why the disciples wanted to know who would sit on the right or left; Mark 10:35-40). Mary saw her Savior who would provide in her life forever, whether on earth or in heaven, so she could use all the pure nard because there was no need to save it for another burial. Christ’s true worth became fully exposed before her, and her heart, fully thankful, which led her to worship Him at all costs.

When we see Christ for who He is, what we have gained in this life becomes a mechanism for highlighting His worth because we recognize it all comes from who He is. We also then recognize, compared to Him, our frailty, especially with a predator like satan prowling around every moment of the day, constantly seeking to devour us (Revelation 12:10). We, therefore, focus more on all that He does for us (Philippians 4:8-9). We focus on what goes wrong as trials that mature us (James 1:2-4) because we know His lovingkindness is new every morning. Great is His faithfulness (Lamentations 3:23). Our hearts become more and more thankful each day leading us to sincerely magnify Christ for all that He is, all He has done and is doing; we worship (Psalm 34).