This is a subject close to my heart. I have personally been judged in this area with comments that slice through flesh wounding deeply. Wounds that took a long time to overcome and heal. Whether someone who sings, plays, dances, acts, teaches, hosts, preaches, organizes, or cleans for God or whether they have ulterior motives is something only that person and God truly knows. Obviously, there are situations where a person’s motives are transparent; however, many times it is not. If you are a singer and you want to truly sing for the Lord – you would imagine that person would sing a mix of everything they are asked to. It wouldn’t matter if it’s “high” or “low”, whether it’s “vocally ornate” or a “simple melody”… if you want to sing for God then you sing for God regardless of what you think you should or should not be singing and regardless of what you like or don’t like. If you play for God and that is your talent – then the same principle applies. You play the stuff you like and don’t like regardless and do it all with a good attitude. If you teach for the Lord – then you teach what God tells you to teach not what you think people need to hear or what pertains to your “current conflict” and you want to teach people a “spiritual lesson”.
At the end of the day my opinion is the only difference between performing or worshiping is the state of the heart. Both should be done in excellence, both should be done with 110% effort, both should be practiced, both should be done to the absolute best of your ability. With that said… are you performing? Or are you worshiping? “So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.” (I Corinthians 10:31).
Not sure which one you are? Ask yourself a few questions…
1. Am I looking for others to “pat me on the back” and give me compliments?
2. Am I only concerned with God’s opinion of me?
3. What is my priority in what I am doing?
4. What is my purpose in what I am doing?
These are only a few questions of what could and SHOULD be asked. It’s a fine line to be walked but one I believe is capable and probable to be walked. Trust me when I tell you I have gone through this transformation. I remember a time when I was singing in a praise band and I only wanted to sing the notes that were “powerful” and “showy”. I wanted to finish singing and hear people tell me how great I sounded or how “anointed” I was. Now? Sometimes I just prefer being in the congregation because I can reach a level of private worship I can never reach while on a stage. I am speaking of singing because this is a talent I use for God. This applies to playing instruments or teaching or any other skill/talent used for God. My private worship time for God is most of the time more powerful than any level of worship done from a stage whether for leading worship or done to be part of an event.
“And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.” – Colossians 3:23
If you have no idea of this “private worship” I am talking about – it’s probably because you are not taking the time nor the opportunities to experience it. Probably. There are always exceptions. When you date someone you are always wanting “alone” time because it’s more intimate than hanging out with a group. The same applies with God – He wants “alone” time with us for intimacy – to get to know us and us get to know Him. You have to have this or nothing else works. Trust me – I have been there and often learned the hard ways. This is why I expose my personal feelings and trials with complete strangers… so you can learn the easy way if there is such a thing.
Challenge: I challenge you today to reevaluate what you do for God. It doesn’t matter if it’s position oriented or if you are just in a congregation. Do you lift your hands hoping for others to SEE YOU, do you lead worship because YOU WANT the notoriety of it, do you offer to help collect items for a food drive because YOU WANT others to see how selfless you are? If you are answering these “no” – good for you – if you are honestly answering these “yes” then it’s time for you to sit with Jesus and figure out your true purpose. It might be what you are doing just needs to be reevaluated or it might be time for a change. At the end of the day, God is a gentleman, so it’s up to you.
“And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:11,12).
“Now there are varieties of gifts,” Paul said to the Corinthians, “but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. And there are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons” (1 Corinthians 12:4-6).
“Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.” (Romans 12:6-8)