In a previous post, I talked about how we must be humble about our successes and talents in the ministry because these are gifts God gives to us, and not of our own efforts. Many of us are church musicians, a very visible service platform, and it is easy to become self-serving and proud. We might boast of being able to play a difficult guitar solo, or being able to come up with a variation of a song, for example.
In other words, we might be tempted to boast because of the external, that is, what we play and how we present ourselves on stage. The Galatians faced a similar issue, because many were being compelled to be circumcised to give a good outward impression: "Those who want to make a good impression outwardly are trying to compel you to be circumcised...they want you to be circumcised that they may boast about your flesh. " (Gal 6:12, 13b). Thus, we may be tempted kneel on stage, jump around, play the best parts we have, not because we want to worship, but to "boast about your flesh". This is definitely unacceptable.
Rather, we should boast not about ourselves, but about God. We boast by bearing testimony about how God has changed our lives, about Jesus' work on the cross, and so forth. This is because in the same paragraph, Paul writes: "May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation" (Gal 6: 14-15).
Therefore, do not show off, do not try to impress with your instruments and talents. Boast about God instead!
Lastly, here are some actions that I feel arise from a wrong attitude. You can use this as a checklist to check your own heart, or if you are a leader in your ministry, to watch out for wrong attitudes. It definitely isn't exhaustive, or 100% correct, but its a place to start and to think about:
- Playing alot during the quiet parts, which are meant to be anchored by the keys/acoustic. The musician might play too many fills, playing too loudly, or using too much distortion. This is especially distracting for the congregation as well, and puts the spotlight on an individual, rather than God.
- Using a sound that is too large and too sharp. While you need a sound that can cut-through, do not let this be an excuse for overwhelming all the other instruments, and putting attention on yourself.
Here's a rather exaggerated example of the first two points:
- Not paying attention during the sermon. The musician that for example goes out for a 30min coffee break during sermon may not be interested at all in the service, in God's word, but is just there to play his or her instrument.
Leave a comment in if you can think of more actions!