Those obvious Reminders. If I'm honest, I really dislike being reminded. My wife Dusty, reminds me often: "did you lock the car? Did you remember to get the milk? Did you set the alarm?" and so on, but I need these reminders. The reality is I don't want to be reminded because of my pride. In my head my thoughts go something like:
"Don't remind me babe, I got this!"
It turns out I do need to be reminded. Scripture tells us that out of the abundance of our heart the mouth speaks, so there's that. . . also, I would have to admit that in every part of life I need those seemingly obvious reminders that God is God. Also, it turns out, I do forget the milk, oh, and to lock the car.
This whole idea of being reminded, no matter how obvious, has a direct effect when I lead others in worship through song. I need the constant reminder that Christ saved me from sin and that worship is something I get to do by the grace of God. It is not something I do because of how good I can play the guitar or sing or anything else. I need this constant reminder. I need to be consistently reminded of why I'm doing what I'm doing. Recently, a book I have been reading has helped me realize this. In Worship Matters, Bob Kauflin, puts it bluntly:
"Most of the time when we we think about worship, we start with what we do. Our intentions are noble; we come with our songs, our prayers, our offerings, and our lives to tell God how great he is. But we assume that acceptable worship ultimately depends on our efforts, sincerity, or gifts. It doesn't. It never will (Worship Matters, Pg 176)."
Talk about a shot to the heart. Kauflin goes on to explain that the human condition looks for acclamation in everything. Why else do books, movies, screenplays, (anything for that matter) seek awards? Everything in this world is built upon praise, but God is the only one worthy of worship! The Lord of all the earth sent his son to suffer and die for us on a cross and to save us from the burden of sin and death. This is the gospel of which I so easily forget. I need this reminder every hour of every day! I must remember that:
"Worship is God's gift of grace to us before it's our offering to God (Worship Matters, Pg 177)."
This perspective, this reminder, takes the focus off of myself and allows worship to flow from the heart! I must constantly dwell on the words of truth found in scripture and remind my heart of the reason I breathe and the reason I lift my voice and sing. Kauflin says it best:
"...leading worship can become self-motivated and self-exalting. We can become burdened by the responsibility to lead others and can think that we might not be able to deliver the goods. We subtly take pride in our worship, our singing, our playing, our planning, our performance, our leadership. Ultimately we separate ourselves from the God who drew us to worship him in the first place (Worship Matters, Pg 177)."
Oh the irony!
The very God I am trying to worship, I have quickly turned into a personal idol of my own making. This is true of me when I become stressed about what songs I'm going to play or how people are going to respond to said songs or to my leadership capabilities. The only thing that keeps me anchored is the gravity of the gospel. That consistent reminder. The reminder of the gospel is like the sunset and the sunrise. It's what makes the world spin - the beginning and the end. And that's who God is. His word is true, every bit of it, and the reminder of the law of the Lord and the love of Christ is as beautiful as the setting sun.
"Blessed be the name of the Lord
from this time forth and forevermore!
From the rising of the sun to its setting,
the name of the Lord is to be praised!"