I've been thinking a lot lately about why I do what I do. Mainly, am I seeking attention for myself? Or is my daily life bringing honor & glory to God? My relationships with family & friends ... my ministry involvements at church ... my daily activities? I've also given a lot of thought to my blog lately as well. Do my posts reflect my heart for God and my family? My Facebook page, and other social media ... how am I using these sources to bring honor & glory to my Lord & Savior? When it all comes "down to it" (so to speak), do I do "what I do" for God's glory? Or for my glory?
Several years ago my husband & our music ministry was approached with this challenge concerning why they serve in our music ministry at church. To give an overview of the scene that was set (a true account): a well-known musician commented that he (paraphrasing) loves the attention he gets when he's on stage ... he loves the way it makes him feel ... it gives him meaning. So, our music minister posed the question to the team if any of them had encountered the "rock star mentality" while leading God's people to worship Him. And what have they done to deal with that. Here is my husband's verbatim response to this question:
Rock Star Mentality? I'll warn you, this is lengthy (his words, not mine)
I admit that I wrestle with this constantly. I have performed professionally on stage as well as in recording studios. I actually prefer recording to performing, so it is not so much about the attention or me. I enjoy creating, collaborating, experimenting, improvising, etc, etc. But the question is, is it for my glory or God's?
I sometimes take a step back and think about the music that I create -- how awesome it is to get to be able to do this, to have the ability. But I am oftentimes reminded that my abilities are not my own, but they belong to God. They are created by God, instilled in me by God and are intended for the glory of God, not me.
The question Why do I play music on Sundays? is constantly on my mind. To make an attempt to answer, first I look at two different venues. The first is my personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Why do I go to my music room in my house to play and sing by myself, to practice if you will? One reason is for personal pleasure, enjoyment, my hobby. Music is very relaxing. It allows me to clear my head from a busy day. And God gives me this ability for my pleasure because He loves me. The second reason (and the most important) is the opportunity to play a song that God lays on my heart, and to allow the words to up-lift and renew my spirit while I praise God. It's a one on one with Christ and no one else around.
The second venue is Sunday mornings in front of a crowd. Yes, I admit that it is satisfying knowing that I did my best and someone acknowledges it. (Although I also admit that I don't do compliments
well.) First reason I do this is to lead others toward Christ in worship. God did not give me this ability to stay in venue #1 above. He gave it to me to fulfill His purpose, one that I had disregarded for many years. To lead worship is to bring others to Christ, to see Him, to feel His love for them. But for me to do this, I have to make folks feel what I feel inside to quote an old country song. In other words, I have to come upon that stage with an open heart longing to also see Him, to feel His love for me. This brings me to the second and most important reason, which is to worship Christ. Imagine no one in the audience except Christ seated on His throne in the middle of that auditorium, My Audience of One to quote another song. He knows my heart better than I do. So when I give Him my heart in worship, is He pleased? And just like the Little Drummer Boy when he finished playing his best for Baby Jesus, Jesus smiled at me. Isn't that an awesome picture?
Can I live without music? Yes. But it's very hard. I played every Sunday with the praise team for 6 years at another church. Then my wife and I came to (this church). I sat in the auditorium for 7 months. You can ask (my wife) about how hard that was for me. But a much needed renewal for both of us. Bottom line, it is a pride thing and one that I will wrestle with until I leave this human body and stand before Christ. And this verse from the song So Here I Am says it for me:
Lord, I don't know where to start, this is hard for me.
I've counted on only one thing and that was always me.
I never would lean on You for anything at all.
I took credit for the victories and blamed You for the falls.
So here I am
Thanks for listening to the lunacy of a musician (again his words, not mine)
When I think of "doing what I do" ... I come back to the "rock star mentality." I do not believe this only affects musicians, a team of worship leaders at church, or even those in visible up-front positions (not only in church, but everywhere). It can come upon any of us without us being aware of it. My heart-attitude is an open-book to God-Almighty. He knows me better than I know myself. He is the Only who truly knows my heart. It's only through Him that I can "do what I do".
So my simple prayer is that ...
In every little thing I say, do and think, dear Lord, let it be for Your honor & glory.
Not to us, O Lord, but to your name give glory,
for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!