Don’t Go to Church to Give

Don’t Go to Church to Give

Today, millions of Christians will gather to worship Jesus. Each gathering, as its own mosaic of souls, will meet at its own place and time. I hope you will be at one, somewhere, and I hope you go there to get, not give.

That is right. Go to church to get. Don’t go to give. Banish the slightest idea in your head that you are going to a corporate worship service because you have something to offer God. He isn’t served like that, as though he needed anything, since he’s the one who gives everything to everybody (Acts 17:25).

God doesn’t need your cattle (Psalm 50:9–12). Or your voice.

The worship of God is not about what you can bring to him. It actually starts with what you can’t. Our hearts are ushered into true worship by the honest confession that, in ourselves, we’re empty — empty of anything that could coax God’s favor; empty of anything that could contribute to his boundless sufficiency. God has no lack for which we must fill. And we have no service for which God depends.

We come empty to the corporate worship gathering, rehearsing the truth that there’s nothing in this world that can eternally satisfy our souls.

We come hungry, and therefore, we come not to give, but get.

We come to get God. He is the one we need — which is different from consumerism. A hungry, dying man is not the same as a weekend mall shopper.

The hungry person centers the event on the bread for which he starves, not the particularities of his own demands. The hungry person submits his reason to God’s word, not the assumption he knows what is best for his soul. The hungry person brings a trans-cultural passion rooted in his humanity, not the appetite for what’s popular.

If we come not to give, but get, it means we surrender our lives to God’s fullness. It means the focus of the event is not us, but the Object of our longing. It is about God. We come for more of him, that we might see his glory, celebrate his character, proclaim his victory, and heal in his love.

When we come not to give, but get, God is central. God is glorified.


More resources on corporate worship:

Jonathan Parnell (@jonathanparnell) is a writer and content strategist at Desiring God. He lives in the Twin Cities with his wife, Melissa, and their four children, and is the co-author of How to Stay Christian in Seminary.