Gold, Bronze, & Follow-up to Sunday
Gold, or bronze? It is a question followers of Jesus desperately need to answer.
20-25 years ago I read a book called The Hallelujah Factor by Jack Taylor. At the time he was on the cutting edge of challenging churches to re-examine what they were calling worship and praise. To this day I vividly remember an example he gave from Scripture about stolen golden shields and their bronze replacements.
King Solomon amassed untold wealth, and one of the symbols of it was a collection of golden shields (1 Kings 10:16-17). If I have correctly calculated today’s price of gold per ounce, the 500 gold shields would have been worth a total of $35 million. Why gold shields? They pointed to the glory of the king. They would have lined the path to the king’s house during major events or ceremonies. Gold is the “last reducible.” Boil it down, and it only becomes purer gold. There’s a reason we refer to a “gold standard.”
But during the reign of Solomon’s inept son Rehoboam the nation of Judah was weakened. An Egyptian king attacked and took the gold shields. So Rehoboam replaced the stolen gold shields with bronze ones (1 Kings 14:25-27). Perhaps not coincidentally, that is the last recorded event of Rehoboam in the Bible.
Bronze looks sorta like gold (if you try hard enough to pretend). But bronze is not gold. Ask an Olympian. Bronze is cheap and common. Gold doesn’t tarnish. Bronze requires a lot of human effort to shine a little and fool some people into thinking it might be golden.
In the aforementioned book, the author asks if our worship has become like the bronze shields of 1 Kings 14. All human effort, but without the golden glorious presence of the Living God. Ouch. At The ROCK, are we just polishing up human talent to make people think that God showed up? Have we substituted flesh and flash for the real thing? Are we willing to settle for the bronze of a well-sung song or a well-told Bible story/joke/anecdote instead of craving a move in our souls by God?
The thought makes me nauseous.
So, here are some requests for you: Demand our best. If you’re a ROCK’er, look for a sense of genuine desperation for God from all of us who presume to lead in worship. Pray for us. Pray for our own private time with God. Pray for our time in preparation. Pray for our families. Pray that we’ll recognize any attack from the enemy. Pray that we will never let “good enough” be good enough when it comes to worship and ministry at The ROCK. Sell out to the worship experience. Bring YOUR best. Sing, laugh, cry, clap, cheer, smile, give, respond as if public worship is the privilege of a lifetime.
Call it a genuinely golden opportunity.