lavish Grace and responsibility

i go to a large church. i sing in the choir and praise team, with the occasional solo. the music department is bursting with talent. i've often heard people say that they don't like our church because it's all a big production, a show. i can understand how it may look that way from the outside, but it's so far from the truth. we do have great music, and we have the opportunity to do things that other churches may not be able to do... but i wonder if it would be better to suppress all this talent and not allow it to be used for His glory, so as not to offend anyone? i wonder if it would be better not to bring the gospel to the ends of the earth through a growing television ministry, so we don't look like we're showing off? i think you know the answer to those questions.

anyway, i wrote an email to our choir director/worship leader today because i was completely overcome this weekend by the whole thing. overcome by the power of the resurrection, absolutely. but also the incredible blessing that we have, and in turn, the great responsibility that comes along with it. here's an excerpt of what i sent him:
I want to thank you for your humble leadership. It really sets the tone for all of us, knowing that your desire is to come as close to perfection as possible in our music, only so that we can give all the glory to Him who is worthy. Thank you for the frequent reminders. We need them.
I was immensely blessed by our orchestra in particular, and had to remind myself never to take this for granted: The fact that we are able to praise God publicly without any kind of persecution, the fact that our platform is bursting with talented musicians, the fact that we are led with such grace and humility, and really the fact that we are even able to utter His holy name with unclean lips... all of it is lavish Grace. The privilege and opportunity to do this every week is something that I never want to get used to.  
I don't want to take it lightly and I also want to remember that it brings great responsibility. I don't want to be careless with it, but instead I want it to remain at the forefront of my mind, in everything I choose to do (or not to do). We are in a position of great influence, both in our local community and around the world. That's scary and exciting, and most of all, humbling. My sincerest prayer is that each time I walk up those stairs to the platform or loft, I would be worshiping Him in spirit and in truth; that my thoughts and words and actions throughout the week would have reflected the Truth that I am boldly singing about on Sunday. You remind us of these things often, and we are thankful for that...
you are "in a position of great influence", too. maybe it's your workplace or your neighborhood? maybe it's a playgroup or your child's school? maybe it's your blog? it doesn't have to reach world-wide to be important. [you have to read this post that totally inspired me today]. if just one person comes to know the power of the resurrection that we celebrated this weekend, that's big enough. every soul is precious to Him. take it seriously, and be so thankful for the opportunity to proclaim Truth at any given moment. be constantly mindful of the One whom you represent, in all your thoughts and words and actions:
Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God2 Corinthians 7:1

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. Romans 12:1-3

this goes along with a post i wrote a few weeks ago. we've been given much. much is required. [much power and strength is available to us through His Spirit, poured out freely to all who ask]

just remember that it's all Grace, friends. every moment that you are allowed another breath, and yes, even the moment when those breaths will cease forever, is lavish, undeserved, mind-blowing Grace, no matter the circumstances that might surround you... don't get used to it. your running water. your full pantry. Jesus Himself. the privilege of seeking God's face at any given moment. your gifts and talents, whatever they may be. your church, however large or small. and millions of other things that we take for granted [and even grumble about] each day... it's all Grace. a free gift. abundant manifold blessing, that we neither deserved nor earned.

and now that this is starting to feel like a plug for One Thousand Gifts, i might as well tell you to go buy the book immediately, and be blown away with perspective. the way Ann Voskamp writes is completely magical.

the end.


  1. I sing on the Worship team at my church too and I've learned that you can't please everyone. I know the hearts of each of the worship team members are to serve the Lord and help others worship him in song. I often think if members of the congregation were "worshiping" instead of "watching" they wouldn't feel like it's show. I take my "job" very seriously and I WILL use my talents to serve the Lord and I am humbled that He allows me to do it.

  2. So true, we are so fortunate we don't have to fear for our lives just for being Christian.