And when the crowds saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in Lycaonian, “The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!” Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. And the priest of Zeus, whose temple was at the entrance of the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates and wanted to offer sacrifice with the crowds. But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their garments and rushed out into the crowd, crying out, “Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men, of like nature with you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them (Acts 4:11-15).”
This has been a pet topic of mine since I was very young in ministry. Very simply stated, a rock star says, “Look at me.” A worship leader says, “Look at God.” Jesus tells us you will know His disciples by their fruit (Matthew 7:16). He also states in another place we will know disciples by how they love one another (John 13:35).
When it comes to the areas we are gifted in, that is a separate issue. His gifts and His calling are irrevocable (Romans 11:29). His gifts for you are not the same as your fruit. To be fruitful means that your life is connected to Jesus and you embody the list in Galatians known as Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Fruit is singular, not plural. It is a list of things you exhibit through your connection to Christ. To encounter you is to be nourished. You are literally feeding the lost and dying world around you. It is a beautiful picture.
So when we talk about music in church, is God after good musicians? Does He want rock stars? I think it is good to be talented as an artist, but a talented musician singing worship music is not necessarily a worship leader. A worship leader teaches and models worshipping God with his/her very life daily.
Let’s stop picking on musicians. We can apply this same thought process with anything. What about preachers? As a young preacher, I was assigned to preach a message about prayer. I preached on James 5. As I spoke, the words were coming to me. I was saying things I didn’t plan. The message was one of the best ones I had ever preached. My personal prayer life however was a wreck because of bitterness and anger I was harboring towards people. There were moments I said words I couldn’t live up to and it felt like someone was punching me in the chest.
At the end, I prayed for people to be more committed to prayer. I prayed people would know Jesus in a more intimate way. That day several people came to the altar in an environment where that was not normal. I saw people crying, reconnecting with family and making commitments.
In my hypocrisy, it truly was one of the most painful professional moments of my life. I learned that day obedience was not a prerequisite to effective preaching God would use. His gifts and His calling are truly irrevocable. I also learned I had the choice to be a rock star or a worship leader. Everyday I strive to lead people towards worship. Preachers make terrible rock stars anyway.
Are you connected to Jesus in an intimate way, evidenced by the fruit of the Spirit? Are you using your gifts to glorify God and not yourself?
Thank you for reading.
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