What Will You Render?

by Andy Wood on July 7, 2010

in Esteem, Life Currency

Render.  It’s one of my favorite words in the English Bible.

I have to admit, it’s partly because it just sounds so awesome.  I can just hear that boxing ring announcer now:

“Lllllets get ready to RrrreeenNNNderrrr.”

You can do a lot with that.

More important, of course, is what the word means.  Render is what you’re doing when you pay a bill or offer assistance to the lady with the flat tire.  It’s what you give someone out of a sense of obligation or honor.  Render has to do with presentation; musically when your church’s praise band does that Hillsongs or David Crowder piece, they are rendering – offering to you their version of something.

Rendering is all about an exchange.  An exchange of life.  An exchange of love.  An exchange of honor.  An exchange of value.

And yes, rendering shows up in the Bible.

God promises to render vengeance in Deuteronomy 32, and render to each according to his ways in 1 Kings 8.  The promised Messiah would render Himself as a guilt offering, according to Isaiah 53.

The psalmist asks, “What shall I render to the Lord for all His benefits toward me?”  That’s an important question.  How would you answer that today?  Right now?

Jesus famously said to “render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”  And Paul reminded the Romans (chapter 13) to render to all what is due them (even the tax collectors).

You Are a Rendering

Whether you’re reading this on a computer screen or a printout, you’re looking at a rendering.  People a whole lot smarter than most of us have figured out how to get an idea – something I have right now – from me to you.  The final rendering may vary (you shoulda seen my computer screen yesterday… can somebody say “time to reboot?”).  But it’s a rendering nonetheless.

That said, you are a rendering, too.  When Paul told the Philippians to let their conduct be such as becomes the gospel of Christ (Philippians 1:27), he was talking about their rendering.

If you are a Christ follower, you’re rendering Jesus to the world, one way or another.  Clean or dirty, clear or foggy, you are, in no uncertain terms, His rendering.

You are also a rendering to Him.  And the word for that is worship.

Two Quick Lessons

Lesson #1 – In the Old Testament, worship was a location (place), an event (time/season), and a prescribed method (sacrifice and priests, among other things).  In the New Testament, worship was a relationship, unlimited by place, time, or available personnel.  Jesus called this “worship in Spirit and Truth,” and it was made possible through the indwelling Holy Spirit.

Lesson #2 – Ever since Jesus ascended into Heaven, human nature has tried to return to the Old Testament.

Nowhere is this more clearly seen than in what Christians today call “worship.”  Unless we intentionally steer our hearts the other way, worship drifts toward becoming an event, and these days always seems to require a microphone, a band, and our own Protestant version of a priest – often hammering on a guitar or keyboard.

“What will I render to the Lord for all His benefits?”

Could it be that we could render something other than the latest from Chris Tomlin (or the oldest from Martin Luther)?

Could it be that my rendering has nothing to do with singing or (gasp!) preaching at all?

Could my silence, my pondering needed changes in my life, or my invitation to a friend to join me at Starbucks for a cup of coffee be a rendering as well?  Yes.  All that and much more.

My Ovation

There is another word that expresses the same idea.  It’s the word, “Ovation.”

We usually use “ovation” to describe an enthusiastic response to something or someone awesome.  Hands and stands are most often the order of the moment.

But an ovation is simply an offering of something I have (appreciation, value, whatever) to someone else.

During Roman times, the highest form of celebration for a conqueror was the triumphant entry.  Conquering generals or rulers would parade down the Appian Way behind the Senate, their armies, and conquered foes, displaying the spoils of conquest.  (Contrast that with Jesus riding a jackass into Jerusalem and parading Peter, John, and that crowd… But I digress…)

There was a second kind of celebration.  This one was more subdued.  It usually was reserved for the general who conquered a lesser foe.  And it appears that the focus was not so much on what the person had done, but on who the person was. This celebration was called… the Ovation.

As believers, we are that “lesser foe.”  And we are limited in our celebration because the battle here still rages.  We are awaiting the real Triumphant Entry of the King of Kings. But we can still offer our Ovation to Him because of who He is.  And we don’t need a stage or a sage to do it.

My Life… His Applause

Today I am in the process of launching a new site and ministry called, “Ovation.”  The idea of launching the Ovation site is to create a place where we can discover fresh ways to render to the Lord the honor due His name.  There are hundreds of ways to do it.  And my hope is that the Lord would raise up an Ovation Nation – an army of people throughout the world who simply, clearly, purely want to offer a rendering (an ovation) – in the form of a lifestyle of worship.  And through that, to offer to the world a rendering of why Jesus Christ is worthy of such an offering.

So I want to invite the LifeVesting community first.  Come join the Ovation Nation.  You can start by clicking here.

The site is a work in progress, as you will see.  But it’s ready for some company.  I’d love to have you join us.

In the meantime… what will you render the One who is so worthy?

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