The True Nature of Worship

March 6, 2021

“That is what God will let you do,”


What gods do we truly worship?

What would we give up everything for? Wealth? Fame? Possessions?

What would we not give up regardless of what is offered to us? Prestige? Pleasure? Position?

When we answer these questions we discover the most important thing in our lives. Whatever answer we give, that is, it is our god.

It has been said that the devil doesn't care who or what man worships as long as it is not God. And the devil works very hard at exploiting our weaknesses.

Scratching the Surface

Donald Barnhouse was the pastor of the Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia from 1927 until his death in 1960. One evening he was counseling a young woman outside the church after services. She said she was a Christian and wanted to follow Christ but she also wanted to be a famous actress. She wanted a stage career in New York, and she told the pastor that as soon as she had “made it,” she would follow Christ completely.

Pastor Barnhouse fished around in his pocket for a key. He took the key over to a nearby mailbox and made a scratch in the painted surface.

“That is what God will let you do,” said the pastor. “He will let you scratch the surface of success. He will let you get close enough to the top to know what it is, but He will never let you have it, because He will never let one of His children have anything other than Himself.”

Years later he met the young woman again and she confessed that this indeed had been the pattern of her life. She had made it onto the stage, she even had her picture in a national magazine, but she had never quite achieved the success and fame she longed for. “I can't tell you how many times in my discouragement I have closed my eyes and seen you scratching that mailbox with your key. God let me scratch the edges, but He gave me nothing in place of himself.”

What Do We Worship?

In the middle of Lent, God calls us to meditate on the true nature of worship.

God reveals Himself in the giving of the 10 commandments. He introduces Himself as the sole God and any form of idol worship is therefore worthy of punishment. All worship is reserved to Him alone. Moses receives the laws under which the people must live in order to maintain a covenant relationship with God. God is making His people a part of His family and that means they must devote themselves entirely to Him. This includes one day a week that is held back from man and given solely to God.

We can understand, then, the zeal showed by Jesus as he cleansed the temple from that which was unclean. Until the death and resurrection of the Messiah, the temple must be reserved solely and exclusively for prayer. Jesus’ cleansing of the temple foreshadows the new covenant. No longer will men sacrifice sheep and oxen in a house of stone and wood. The new temple is Christ Himself and the sacrifice He demands will be the sacrifice of our hearts and minds.

Pax Vobiscum
3rd Sunday if Lent


© Lawrence Klimecki


Purchase fine art prints by Deacon Lawrence here.

Deacon Lawrence draws on ancient Christian tradition to create new contemporary art that seeks to connect the physical and the spiritual.. For more information on original art, prints and commissions, Please visit 

Lawrence Klimecki, MSA, is a deacon in the Diocese of Sacramento. He is a public speaker, writer, and artist, reflecting on the intersection of art and faith


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