This is what the LORD Almighty said: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor. Do not plot evil against each other.’
In Zechariah, Chapter 7, the people of Israel asked, “Should I mourn and fast in the fifth month as I have done for so many years?” But God replied by asking them a question, “When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months for the past seventy years, was it really for me that you fasted?” In other words, “Have your yearly religious observances really been for me? Or were you simply going through the motions to soothe your conscience and check off your ‘Religious Observance’ box?” Then God offered some action steps to show true worship.
Instead of going through the motions, God said to show true justice to others. Demonstrate mercy and love for each other. Take care of the needy widow. Take in the orphan. Accept the foreigner. Provide for the poor. Stop premeditated, hurtful actions against each other.
Without meaningful actions, worship can quickly become a meaningless ritual. A powerful prayer becomes pointless by mindless repetition. A timeless creed encompassing the essentials of the faith can lose its impact with numbing recitation. A song that moved us to tears when we first heard it can wear a rut through our hearts so that we are bored with the words. We can’t just go through the motions. True worship is proven by actions.
Father, point out to me any area of my worship and service to You where I am simply going through the motions. Show me any area that I am doing for myself and not for You. When You reveal to me where I need to change, help me change. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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