Do you ever wish you could belt it out with a strong melodious voice? I wish I could! Growing up in a small church two of my best friends would often do a special music solo. I loved listening to them and wished I had the ability to praise God like they did. I remember one Sunday I was standing next to one of my non-special-music friends during the worship service. We were all in to the music singing and swaying and clapping until his mom looked over at us and giggled. “What?” I asked wanting to know what was so funny. She informed us we were clapping off beat. Oh. I’m sure we looked ridiculous. I even had to laugh at myself! Still to this I struggle to clap and sing at the same time. It’s similar to that trick where you rub your belly and pat your head at the same time and then switch. It just does not come naturally.
I apparently didn’t inherit my mother’s musical talent. She even has a master’s degree with a minor in musical eduction. She tried to teach me how to play the piano. It apparently didn’t go so well because she ended up paying someone to teach me. I just remember the teacher taking my finger and smashing it onto the keys. I think she was frustrated with my lack of improvement. It probably would have helped if I had practiced. Oops. Sorry Mrs. Livermore!
In Junior High I played the trumpet. I loved it! . . . as long as my music teacher was willing to write in the positions for me. Remembering to play a flat or a sharp was just beyond my capabilities. Every year our band played in a competitive band festival. In order to prepare me the band teacher hired me a tutor. As I set up my stand the tutor told me I had the stand positioned too close to my face. It was so close that I had to set to the stand to my side at an angle just so that I would have room for my instrument. “Do you need glasses?” the tutor asked. Boy did I ever!!! I explained I had gotten a pair of glasses a couple of years ago but I felt so ugly in them that I decided I’d rather be blind. I’d like to say that shortly there after I got glasses and became the best trumpet player, but truth is that after nine years of music lessons I still cannot read sheet music. F-A-C-E and Every-Good-Boy-Deserves-Fudge is as far as I go. Sorry Mr. Eberly!
Last week my husband asked me three times if I wanted to go to the big upcoming Christian concert. I pictured myself feeling claustrophobic surrounded by 8,000 smelly teeny-boppers in a ginormously loud auditorium. I told him, “No.” “Nah.” and “No, thank you!” It seemed cheesy to me to pay money to worship God. What a fuddy-duddy I am, right?!? Three days before the concert I told him I wanted to go.
There were 8,000 people there but I was surprised at the lack of teeny-boppers. The only smell I remember was the captivatingly deliciously deep fried food I forced myself to resist. Of course it was loud. The beat of the bass drum seemed to alter the rhythm of my heart. Maybe my heart can’t keep rhythm either? There were fog machines and a plethora of colorful laser lights shooting off in every direction. Thousands of my brothers and sisters in Christ were there throwing up their hands in worship. The atmosphere was ecstatic!
It was an enjoyable night worship with friends. I’m so glad we went! Some of the musicians made for exceptional worship leaders and others felt more like a typical performer. Some had a presence of humility and when they lifted up their voices they were point all who could hear to Christ (I really liked Kari Jobe!). Other performers had more of a self-important demeanor; even though they were singing “Christian” songs the attention was more on them and their abilities. If I had their mad skills it would be easy to feel prideful of my accomplishments. But God is not impressed. God is the one that gave them their voice to begin with. He is not anymore impressed with the lead singer of a world famous band than He is with person in the back row singing off key. And no, I’m not talking about me! I was singing off key in the middle, thank you very much! Seriously though, God is more glorified by the off-key-back-row-singer who is singing to give God the glory than He is of the person on stage singing to glorify themselves. God does want us to steward our gifts by practicing and improving on them, but all that time and effort is in vain if it is not for His glory. God is not impressed by smoke machines and laser lights. He appreciates the person who humbly uses their gift to glorify Him.
“Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise.” Psalm 98:4