I was reading the Word today and God spoke to me through a certain passage in 1 Chronicles 15:20-22 where David was bringing back the ark of God to Israel after it had been taken in battle by their enemies the Philistines. The ark was symbolic of the presence of God, and even more than this, it was literally God’s throne where his glory dwelt between the cherubims (angels) on it. This occasion of bringing it back to Israel was a time of victory and rejoicing! Let the “shouting music” begin!
“20And Zechariah, and Aziel, and Shemiramoth, and Jehiel, and Unni, and Eliab, and Maaseiah, and Benaiah, with psalteries on Alamoth;
21And Mattithiah, and Elipheleh, and Mikneiah, and Obed–edom, and Jeiel, and Azaziah, with harps on the Sheminith (octave) to excel.
22And Chenaniah, chief of the Levites, was for song: he instructed about the song, because he was skilful.”
As I read this passage, I felt God speak to my heart and to remind church musicians that there is NOTHING wrong with being instructed, educated and skillful in music. Will God accept worship and praise if it comes from someone who is NOT skillful in music? YES, without a doubt. The Bible also says “Make a JOYFUL noise unto the Lord.” But REMEMBER, the same book of Psalms that records this Scripture also says “Play SKILLFULLY with a LOUD noise!” (There’s a lot there I know!)
God loves our praise and worship when it comes from the heart regardless but the God of heaven and earth deserves our best.
So the question becomes, what is your (or my) best? If you never practice and just come to the house of God haphazardly not knowing your part and just “play it by ear” because that’s what “we’ve always done” – is that your best? (And there’s nothing wrong with playing by ear – sometimes that’s how God moves!) If that’s your best, then that’s your best!
But I’m talking about giving God – the God that sent His Son to die for us – our BEST.
I believe we should practice and make every effort to bring to God a sacrifice of praise. Sacrifice means you have given up something. As musicians we give of our time in practice. We may even give of our finances to purchase lessons and education to make ourselves better (obviously I’m preaching to the choir here since you are on our website reading this). Another verse in 1 Chronicles (9:33) talks about how the singers “were employed in that work day and night.”
That’s some dedication to practice right there! Day and night practicing and perfecting their gift so they could give their best to God and His Kingdom.
We could go on and on with Scripture. Ecclesiastes 9:10 Whatsoever thy hand finds to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.
The Apostle Paul said in Colossians 3:23-24
23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;
24 Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.
Once again, my best may not be your best and your best may not be my best. But if you will give your best – whatever it is – just like the boy with the fish and two loaves, God will take it and multiply…if you are willing to GIVE it to him for him to use.
And let me even remind those musicians that are VOLUNTEER musicians (like myself) – God will bless you. You may not be on the church payroll, but you are on God’s payroll. He will bless your for your sacrifice and giving to your church’s music ministry.
God bless you and YOUR music ministry! I hope this encourages and motivates you! Let’s give our BEST to God!
(Remember, don’t worry about being THE best – but being YOUR best).