It’s challenging to be a musician in ministry. Even those who are called to this lifestyle know the dilemma of balancing ministry and personal dreams.
In a town like Nashville, where music and fame are prized above all, it’s easy to be lured into a desire for recognition. As Christians, we begin this journey with the motive of bringing glory to God through our music. If we’re not careful though, we can lose track of our calling and in subtle ways begin to seek glory for ourselves.
When I first started singing and then later recording, I assumed I knew what ministry was. I was on the road telling people about the love of God while also sharing my heart through music. Without realizing it, I began to think of myself as special and anointed and possibly even spiritually superior, though I would never have admitted it! I was rejoicing in all God was doing through me, but deep down inside I also wanted the credit!
I remember singing for a church in England one morning. As I left the service feeling quite pleased with myself, a man came up to me saying that he had a word from the Lord for me. Thinking how pleased God must be with my ministry, I said, “OK, what is it?” Soberly he said, “In the Bible, God used a donkey and God used a great fish. He doesn’t need you.”
His words stunned me, but I thanked the man anyway and walked away shaken to my core. Though his message was not easy to hear, I knew it was true. I was doing God’s work, but the Lord was not concerned with what I did. He cared about why I did it.
The world tells us that to be successful we must be seen, recognized, and praised. God’s way is the opposite; to go higher, we must go lower. God’s genuine authority is always carried with meekness and obedience.
Remember David who defeated Goliath with a single stone? The young shepherd boy had no idea he was going to face a giant when God called him to the battlefield. He was simply told to go and carry food to his brothers!
Then Jesse said to his son David, “Take now for your brothers an ephah of this dried grain and these ten loaves, and run to your brothers at the camp.” (1 Sam. 17:17)
Just imagine what David must have been thinking. He had been anointed above all of his brothers by the high priest Samuel. When his father told him to deliver food to his brothers, he could have refused to do such a menial task. David would receive no recognition for this task. In fact, his obedience went completely unnoticed by man—but God noticed!
In David’s humility, the Lord saw the heart of a king because he saw the heart of one willing to serve! On that day the real victory had nothing to do with slaying a giant. David proved himself worthy to carry God’s anointing as he willingly carried a basket of roasted grain to his unappreciative brothers. In less than twenty-four hours, he went from being a freckled-faced shepherd boy to a mighty warrior known across Israel and across the centuries! As Jesus would later demonstrate for us, the key to promotion in God’s kingdom is humility, service, and obedience.
Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. (John 13:3–5)
Many desire the glory and praise of the warrior who slays the giant, but few are willing to serve. How many of us would lay down our lives for those who seek to hurt us or hurt those we love? Yet Jesus tells us that “whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it” (Matt. 16:25).
For God to use us to do great things, we must first learn to obey Him in the small things. Change will come in our homes, work, and ministry as we assume the lowest place. Will you have courage with me this week? Will you do whatever God asks of you even if it involves making yourself nothing? If, like Jesus, we have the meekness to get on our knees and wash feet, the Lord will use us for His glory.
Father, I know You created me with a holy calling. Forgive me for trying to fulfill Your calling in my own strength. Help me to faithfully serve wherever You send me. Make me a vessel that can be used to bring You glory! In Christ’s name I pray, amen.
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