Back in my early 20s I went to a church in Fayetteville, NC. Village Baptist Church. Great church. Had the old school choir of about 50 people in it who sang their hearts out every Sunday. And I decided to join it. I’ll never forget as I was leaving the sanctuary one morning, and older man walked up to me and grabbed my head with large hands.
He then puckered his lips and kissed my forehead.
He said, “Son, we just love watching you sing.”
“Thank you, sir,” I managed. As I got beyond the awkwardness of the forehead kiss, I thought about what he said. Notice how he didn’t say, we love listening to you sing. He loved watching me. His voice stuck in my head.
About a year later, I was at a different church in Columbus, Ga: Cascade Hills Church. I was singing as you normally do in the congregation that has no choir and theater seating and the woman standing in front of me grabbed my shoulder during the meet and greet time. I love listening to you sing. You should be up on the stage. “I don’t know about that,” I stammered. But perhaps the stage was where I belonged. I mean that old man in Fayetteville couldn’t been off. The lady a row ahead of me who I was singing as loud as I could into the back of her head couldn’t be off. Perhaps it was God revealing my true calling.
I sent an email to the worship coordinator to set up an audition. Now listen, I played the clarinet for a semester in the 7th grade as part of the curriculum. I know that brass means horns and things, strings means guitars and violins. I know that there are bases, tenors, and baritones. I know there are notes that correspond with letters somehow, but that’s about it. So when the worship pastor asked me to sing a note, I didn’t know he was referring to the A note. I had not no idea. He hit a key on the piano which sounded like all the other notes on the piano. I said, “Sir, I’m a guy who just has to sing a song.”
Then he asked me to sing something, and I didn’t know how the song went. I could tell he was getting frustrated as I felt a little uncomfortable, that perhaps singing took a little more than large lungs and vocal chords. He then sang something really well and asked me to do it.
I tried. And well, after my performance, he said,” Who was it that said you could sing?” I explained the story again, and then he said, “I think someone was lying to you.”
“Me too,” I said as I turned quickly to go.
The Voices I choose
That embarrassing moment was brought to me by my false view of myself and the voices I chose to listen to. Now I know I can’t sing. For my whole life, I’m the guy that people asked me “to sing a little quieter” or “just mouth the words” to “stop singing.” But I ignored those voices and chose to listen to the ones that suited my desire to be a great stage presence.
That is how we end up with really good intentions and then plummet to self deception and sin. We believe the hype of people who don’t know us and have no relationship with us over those who do.
In 1 Samuel 15, King Saul is given the mission to bring justice to the Amalekite people. Kill them all. Don’t enslave them. Don’t make yourself wealthy with the spoils of war. Just execute the justice of God. King Saul who stood head and shoulders above the rest of his fellow countrymen made a significant mistake. He didn’t just execute justice against the Amalekites, but he also became an imperialist by profiting off the plunder of those whom he conquered and taking for a slave the king of the Amalekites. Saul had a low view of himself, even though he was the king of God’s people. He didn’t need to be a king of a king. God had made him king of his people and there was tremendous responsibility and honor in that. In fact, Saul started out a pretty great guy making wonderful decisions for God’s people. But somewhere along the line, Saul stopped thinking about honoring God, but rather about being honored by the people. He wasn’t big enough. He was insecure in his role as king and sought to make himself greater in his own eyes and of the eyes of those he cared about. His monument to himself is testimony to that. When the soldiers starting taking the livestock of the amalekites, he didn’t say no. He didn’t want pushback. He liked people liking him.
That showed God who the true God of Saul was. When the choice to do the right thing came, Saul caved and chose to receive honor from the lips of his people rather than honor from the lips of God.
God removed Saul from his blessing and made another king instead who was a man after his own heart.
What Voice will you choose?
There are different voices out there that are making noise. But when the world, and the enemy get loud, it’s time to tune in the Lord and seek him with our whole heart. The world and the enemy will fade away, but our God rewards those who diligently seek him. How many times will we listen to the enemy who isn’t seeking our best as opposed to our Heavenly Father who is always looking for His glory and our good, even if it feels like the long way.