Here are some sobering words from Sinclair Ferguson. In this wee article he is thinking upon some of the privileges of living in America (petrol/gas got a mention) and he finishes by thinking about the situation in Scotland.
When we cease to worship the Lord our thankfulness has only inadequate objects – others, ourselves, or our ‘lucky stars’. Hence Paul links together not worshipping the Lord and being unthankful (Rom 1.21).
This took only one generation. In my childhood churches were as full as they are today in Columbia; now they are empty. The buildings are now entertainment centres or up-market apartments. The trend is inexorable: we first lose the sense of the privilege of worship; then the desire to worship (the problem is within us!); true worship slowly dies.
Eventually the world sees that the worship of God is unimportant even to church members and treats it (and God’s Word on which it is grounded) as unimportant too.
Eventually the liberty we enjoyed is restricted and may ultimately be denied. If we squander our privileges God takes us at our word and removes them.
Sinclair Ferguson, ‘The Fourth of July – A View from (Slightly!) Outside’
Profound. How many churches today see the problem finding its root at our worship of God? Generally, I think, the focus is given to symptoms and good intentions rather than the cause. For myself my flesh would much rather be served and worshipped instead of worshipping God. The irony is that it is only in worship of God that I can truly enjoy life and be satisfied. So long as I pursue serving myself, enjoyment and satisfaction will be elusive. Does the church, do I, live in such a way that this is communicated to those who see us? O for a greater vision of GOD.