The Lord laid on my heart to do a series of blogs for the body of Christ on priorities for 2018. So, you have seen an increase in the number of blogs this past week. One of the priorities on the Lord’s heart is right relationships. I love to worship God. I like my individual times of worshipping the Lord. I love corporate worship. (There are many aspects of worship, not just song, and God loves all of our worship of Him.) But in Matthew 5:23-24, Jesus gave us a priority that is higher than worship. He said, “Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.” Broken relationships with others can hinder our relationship, fellowship, and worship of the Lord, so Jesus said to get those relationships resolved before presenting your offerings at the altar. (A wrong relationship with our wife will also hinder our prayer life. See 1 Peter 3:7.)
Many years ago at a church I was pastoring I went early on Sunday morning to be with the worship team as they prepared for the morning worship service. One of the guitar players came in that morning and I could see that he was troubled in spirit. I went over to him and inquired about what was going on. He replied that he and his wife had a fight that morning. I asked him if they had resolved it. When he replied that they had not resolved it yet, I shared with him Matthew 5:23-24, and sent him home to work things out. I told him if he made it back to church in time for service, great, but if not, then that was okay. Getting right with his wife was a higher priority than presenting his offering of worship that morning.
Recently, a man shared with me that I had offended him and his wife. I immediately apologized to him and asked for forgiveness. Then, I drove over to their house and asked his wife for forgiveness. (In that particular incident, I had not done anything wrong, and really did not need to apologize. But, I took full responsibility for the misunderstanding, humbled myself, went to their house and apologized in person.) We must be committed to right relationships.
God loves our worship and wants us to worship Him. But, He has prioritized our relationships with one another over our worship. Two thousand years ago Jesus gave us this priority, and in 2018 it is still a priority, and is on the heart of God for His church. All of us, including pastors, need to lay down our offerings and get our relationships right, and then go back to presenting our offerings at the altar.