This is a lesson I learnt over the weekend: God’s work does not depend on us. We play ourselves when we refuse to serve, or when we serve as though we’re working unto man.
I am part of a small choir in my local church. The choir consists of college students and young adults and we minister once every month. Due to a new regulation, other college students and young adults in the church joined the choir, although in the past, it was exclusive to students at my college. To be honest, I wasn’t too pleased with this new change. I felt that our autonomy was being taken away and that the bonds that we had created by singing together were going to change as the new members joined us. To make matters worse, the choir uniform was becoming more stylish so as a college student, it’d be very difficult having to buy the red shoes or blue trousers (or whatever else) we were required to wear for ministrations.
Very often, my friends and I would complain about the choir and the new changes and how we didn’t want them. Let me just speak for myself. I was becoming increasingly disinterested in the choir, but because it was something done for the Lord, I persisted and God’s grace has kept me.
We were to minister yesterday (Sunday), so we had to be in church on Saturday morning for rehearsal. The church is 45 minutes away from my school, so you can only imagine the hassle to get to church and then practice, which involves learning the songs from scratch, and then driving back to school. The entire process takes a good 3-5 hours.
On Friday, we had an event on campus. The Christian a cappella group puts on an annual night of praise and music called Love Fest. We have guest ministers as well as student ministrations. It’s always fun. This year was no different. Even after the event, my friends and I stayed to sing along and dance to lovely christian music. Afterwards, I went to a friend’s room to “bond.” We ended up chatting till really late, and I got to bed around 4/5 am.
And I had choir practice the next day.
On Saturday, I had to wake up around 9:30am to leave school for choir practice at 11am. I was beyond exhausted. But in my panic that I had missed the bus and was delaying my friends, I hurriedly got ready, only to discover that my friend had tricked me and only wanted me to get dressed as quickly as I could.
When I got to the van that was to take us to church, I saw that only 5 of us had showed up. Only 5, that’s about half or a third of the entire choir. I felt very bad, and my friends and I (those who showed up) had a long conversation about our collective bad attitude. We realized that we cannot force our other members to be committed and to go above and beyond to serve the Lord. So we decided to do our best and leave the rest to God.
When we got to church, we had our usual prayer time and began to rehearse. Because we were so few, the song was challenging. We needed more people to make a chorus, and not just a random group of singers. The entire situation seemed pathetic. My friend who leads the choir even stepped out to cry. I felt very horrible.
Then when we got to the altar to practice with the instrumentalists and something interesting happened. The members of the main church choir were still lingering around after their own rehearsals and heard the song we were ministering. They were excited about our song and decided to sing with us.
It was like magic before my eyes. From about 6 croaky voices, we had a full choir almost three times that size. When we were scared of embarrassment, God made a way.
Here are a few lessons from that short story.
1. God always has a substitute– After Saul’s misbehavior with the Amalekites, God asked Samuel to anoint David as King. After Judas died, he was replaced by Matthias. God always has people who will do His work. Let us not deceive ourselves, when we decide to act too cool to serve our God, the wave of His glory will simply move elsewhere. No one is irreplaceable in God’s kingdom, absolutely none. It is a privilege to serve God and we must realise and appreciate the honor that He bestows on us to be co-creators with Him.
2. God’s grace keeps us- Because God is so kind and gracious, He turns His eye to many things that we do that should ordinarily get us into trouble with Him. But one thing that God doesn’t like is disobedience. In one word, sin is disobedience. And from the Garden of Eden story, we know that God hates disobedience. So it follows that we understand that God hates sin. Many of us have been called by God to do things for His kingdom, yet we stay dragging our feet because the time isn’t convenient or we want money and material things. Sin keeps us away from God, disobedience keeps us away from God. It is better to not work for God than to work and grumble. Grumbling is disobedience because we know that God wants our hearts to serve Him right. He looks at the heart and not on outward appearance!
3. We all must do better– From that lesson over the weekend, I have resolved to never take God’s work for granted. Come rain or sunshine, I am serving the Lord with all that I have. Everything I currently enjoy comes from Him, so why should I act too busy or too cool to work for Him? I haven’t even been to jail like the apostles and I’m here complaining. I have the freedom to serve God openly and to fellowship with other believers and I’m still at this level… this has to change. As much as we can, we must go above and beyond for God. If He says jump, we must only ask Him how high He wants us to jump. We must abandon ourselves to the service of God.
That said, our ministration was powerful and I personally felt the presence of God all through the service.
Have a great week guys! God bless you.