No More Bull

“But I want no more bulls from your barns;
I want no more goats from your pens.”
Psalm 50:9 NLT

I read a quote last week on Twitter that was so profound it changed the trajectory of my entire week.

“A bishop once said that 90% of sermons he had ever heard can be boiled down to two words: Try harder.”
– William Cavanaugh

The more I thought about it, the less it applied just to sermons and the more it applied to 90% of my daily life. I am so consumed with pushing myself to try harder. Every time I don’t understand something, it must be because I’m not researching enough or applying enough empathy. When my goals for the week gather more dust than my baseboards, I tell myself I need to try harder. Even one of my favorites, the infamous “work smarter, not harder,” is still telling me to try harder. Do I honestly believe that I hold more value the harder I try?

Something needs to change before 90% of what I think, say and do is tried away.

The simplicity of the solution didn’t hit home until God gave me a talking to through the author of Psalm 50. I feel like this one was written just for me – God’s love for us is so clear in these words!

“I have no complaint about your sacrifices
     or the burnt offerings you constantly bring to my altar.
But I want no more bulls from your barns;
     I want no more goats from your pens.
For all the animals of the forest are mine,
     and I own the cattle on a thousand hills. 
Every bird of the mountains
     and all the animals of the field belong to me.
If I were hungry, I would not mention it to you,
     for all the world is mine and everything in it.
I don’t need the bulls you sacrifice;
     I don’t need the blood of goats.
What I want instead is your true thanks to God;
     I want you to fulfill your vows to the Most High. 
Trust me in your times of trouble,
     and I will rescue you, 
     and you will give me glory.”
(Psalm 50:8-15 NLT)

God doesn’t NEED me, he wants me. Today I am good enough; yesterday I was, too, even with  my unfinished projects and the handful of chocolate chips I ate. He didn’t send his son to live and die in my place for me to try harder. He sent his son because he loves me. What he wants is a life of true thanks, love and trust. That is something my kids have easily mastered. They never worry about their future or wonder if I’d love them more if they could spell or read better.  Even just sitting down on the floor with them evokes a response equivalent to the average adult lottery winner!

Today, I will redirect each “try harder” urge to instead remind myself that I have won the eternal lottery. I want the summary of 100% of my “life sermons” to be three words: Thank You, God!


Dear Lord, remind my soul how to live with the faith of a child. Help me to think, speak and act in full awareness of my status as a FORGIVEN and LOVED child of God. Thank you for loving me just as I am and saving me even before I knew I needed you. Amen.

photo credit: <a href=”″>225/365 Reminders</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>

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About messyworship

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I believe that you can bump into God outside of a Sunday morning church service. That is what Messy Worship is: a written meditation with an authentic, transparent take on the Bible's application to today's world. This is where I challenge myself to blurr the line between "life" and "worship" so much that the line disappears a little more each day. I hope, by sharing what I learn, the idea of a seamless life of worship becomes contagious.

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