God doesn’t need you. Let those words sink in today. On the surface, this might not sound very good. But if you really think about it, this is great news. This means that God is not dependent on you. Who wants to worship a God who is needy? Who wants to trust in a God who is not self-sufficient? The fact that God is self-sufficient reminds us that we can depend on him. God is God because he is unlike us. He doesn’t need reassurance. He is not insecure. He is confident and self-sustaining. But the fact that he chooses to engage with us should invoke a response of worship.
I am reminded of Luke 19:40 where Jesus responds to the Pharisees who are mad that people are worshipping him. Jesus responds: “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.” In other words, Jesus doesn’t care if people refuse to worship him because stones would worship him. The world worships him. The universe worships him. He doesn’t need our worship.
I remember growing up my youth pastor would always beg us to come to church. “Come to church! It’s going to be so much fun! We are going to play basketball after!” Or “Come to church! We will provide a ride for you! It will be fun!” Then during the worship service, my pastor would beg us to sing louder. “Come on, sing! Come on, clap your hands! Let’s do a competition between boys and girls to see who could sing louder!” As a result, I had this view of God like he is a needy teenage boyfriend trying to get some love. I had a picture of God up in heaven looking down just wishing more people would sing louder for him or come to church for him. I started to view myself as indispensable to God. God needed me to worship him. If I don’t come to church, then God will not be glorified. If I don’t serve, God won’t be able to finish his mission on earth. Therefore, God should feel privileged that I have made time from my busy schedule to worship him.
However, as I turned through the pages of Scripture, I saw a completely different picture of God. I did not see a God who was a needy boyfriend or an insecure girlfriend. I did not see a God begging people to spare some time for him. In fact, there are passages that suggest that God would rather you don’t worship him at all than to worship him with a self-centered attitude.
For example, in Malachi 1, we get a picture of Israel who started to worship God with their leftovers. They were going through the motions and came with a self-centered heart to worship. In other words, they thought God needed them more than they needed God. So what happened is that they came and offered blemished animals as sacrifices. When they were commanded to give the best, they gave their leftovers. So God responds to their selfish worship in verse 8: When you offer blind animals in sacrifice, is that not evil? And when you offer those that are lame or sick, is that not evil? Present that to your governor; will he accept you or show you favor? says the Lord of hosts. If a human ruler would not accept this type of offering, what makes you think God would? If people would not tolerate being treated as leftovers what makes you think God will accept leftover worship? And then God says something very shocking in verse 10: Oh that there were one among you who would shut the doors, that you might not kindle fire on my altar in vain! I have no pleasure in you, says the Lord of hosts, and I will not accept an offering from your hand.
Do you see what God is saying? He wishes somebody would just close up the synagogue than to have his name dishonored with selfish worship. God wishes somebody would just close the church doors than to have people continually worship him with their leftover time and money. Why? Because he is a great God and he doesn’t deserve our leftovers. He is a great God and he will be glorified with or without you. As he says in verse 11: For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense will be offered to my name, and a pure offering. For my name will be great among the nations, says the Lord of hosts. In other words, God doesn’t need our worship.
So when we gather on Sundays or for home groups or for some other ministry event, remember this very simple sentence: God doesn’t need you. God doesn’t need The Bridge. And the day The Bridge starts worshipping him with hearts of entitlement and selfishness, that is the day God would prefer we closed the doors to our church than to continue offering empty worship. So I am not going to beg you to worship God. I am not going to say, “sing louder!” I am not going to beg you to get plugged in. Why? God will receive his glory with or without you. Instead, I will remind you of the honor and privilege you have to be allowed to worship such an awesome God. God could use rocks to worship him but he allows us to worship him. God presently receives 24/7 worship from angels in heaven but he allows us to worship him. God could complete his mission on earth with donkeys but he allows us to fulfill his mission. God is a great God and he doesn’t need our worship. And that is the very reason why you should want to worship him.