Tim was a hugely successful businessman, influential, high visibility, deeply honored, admired. Before business, he had played football for the Miami Dolphins and won two Super Bowl Rings. Anyone invited into his circle got glow from his halo of fame.
Which is why I was thrilled when, while traveling to Denver to hear him speak at a conference, I got word that Tim wanted to meet with me! ME! In an instant, I went from the shadowy perimeter to Inside the Circle, Baby!
People took photos while we talked; I earnestly dug in with questions, and Tim put his full focus on me. For 20 minutes it was him and me, me & him, riveted, on point. We were focused and intent. At the end of our conversation, infused with enthusiasm, I was forthright in my admiration and told him I looked up to him. He gave me a terse smile and said, “Aim higher.”
We shook hands and went our separate ways. I was exhilarated. The honor of being ‘wanted’, the recipient of his undivided attention, the wisdom he shared and his offer to help me go forward, was invigorating and deeply encouraging. Hope came alive!
‘Thank you God!’, I clapped my hands—and a tiny thought occurred: Had I ever been as excited to meet with God as I had been to meet with Tim?
“—that’s not fair,” I interrupted, “That’s a stupid thought. You’re just trying to make me feel guilty.” But this just started a debate. My little thought butted back in:
“Hey, nothing against Tim. Honor and gratitude to the man, applause for his achievements, and his willingness to help. But remember, when you told him you looked up to him, he said: ‘Aim Higher’. So I ask you again (still the little voice): Have you ever been as excited to meet with God as you were to meet with Tim? Does Tim know anything God doesn’t know? Has he achieved anything God hasn’t enabled him to achieve? Does Tim have powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men? Is he superman?”
‘No,’ I replied, ‘but this is stupid. Tim is flesh & blood, here & now, wholly audible, with social cache, whereas God is …intangible.’
The little voice asked: Is God intangible to you?…
I sucked air to respond, but the voice said, ‘Pause. Think about your life. Think about the miracle that IS your life. Think about the answered prayers. Think about your son, Casey, who is a physical manifestation of an astoundingly miraculous answer to prayer. Is Casey intangible? Are you perhaps not making the connection to God as the source of your very tangible blessings, thereby relegating Him to the status of intangibility?
‘Look, heroes are great. Heroes are wonderful. We need heroes, we need great role models. Seek heroes and be a hero. But here’s the question: Is God your #1 Hero? Is He your mentor? Do you idolize God? Do you love His companionship, hunger for his guidance, His Fatherliness, his ‘so-much-better-than-anything-elseness’, that when you think of him, all else fades to distant second?’
If your answer is yes: You are worshipping God.
If your answer is no: Aim higher.
So how do you ‘aim higher’?
Answer: Go deeper. Go deeper in your knowledge and relationship with God.
In a letter to one of his generals, Napoleon Bonaparte wrote, “The Gospel possesses a secret virtue, a mysterious efficacy, a warmth which penetrates and soothes the heart…. The Gospel is not a book; it is a living being, with action, a power, which invades everything that opposes its extension. …Once master of our spirit, the faithful Gospel loves us. God even is our friend, our father, and truly our God. The mother has no greater care for the infant whom she nurses.”
God is Love. Worship is Love reciprocated; it’s responding to God’s love for You.
God loves you—do you get that? God Loves YOU—and worship is you receiving his love and loving him back—not out of guilt or obligation, but in awe and delight. It’s an issue of the heart, and it’s a reflex of intimacy, which comes from closeness of hearts and knowledge of each other.
So have heroes, yes; but as Tim said, ‘Aim higher’.
To aim higher: Go deeper.