While this isn’t a daily devo on Pastor’s sermon, it is an experience from my journal that I wanted to share.
Last night was dress rehearsal for the Passion Play here at BNC. I approached it as a full out performance. In my mind I need to do that. It keeps me on my toes and lets me hone in on where I might be failing at missing a mic being turned on or a sound effect not being loud enough. And like many performances, I had places last night that I missed. Driving home, I relived each one over and over in my mind in an attempt to somehow reconcile them. This turned into more than that, however, and became something God checked me on in my spirit.
I asked myself this question – What if no one was in the room? What if there was no audience to critique my performance? What if the Music Pastor was not in the room? Would I still be bothered by my performance? Would I relive each missed cue or bad mix?
My answer was no. Those things wouldn’t bother me. There would be no reason for no one was there for me to perform for.
If I am performing for an audience alone or if I am performing to impress my music director, than I have no business running sound at all. Sure I want to do a great job! There’s something beautiful that resonates in me when I mix and it produces such a splendid sound. But I cannot perform to have my ears tickled by an audience or a music director. I’m seeking glory that is reserved for the Father alone.
Irrespective of who is in the room during a performance, there is One who I am serving that is always in the room. He is the One that I ought to be seeking to please – not an audience or the music director, but the Father.
In Matthew, Jesus warns His disciples about this.
Matt. 6:1 “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.
Matt. 6:2 So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.
Matt. 6:3 “But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,
Matt. 6:4 so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.
Matt. 6:5 “When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.
Matt. 6:6 “But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.
Jesus picks up the same theme in verse 16.
Matt. 6:16 “Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.
Matt. 6:17 “But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face
Matt. 6:18 so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.
Look again at verse 1. Jesus says beware of practicing your righteousness. He’s referring to good works and deeds. The Pharisees indeed were performance driven. They were motivated by how well their performance would be accepted by onlookers. Their motivation for their works was wrong. Jesus wasn’t condemning deeds and works, but the motivation behind them. Obedience born out of wrong motivation is not obedience to the Father, but obedience to an idol…namely myself.
Notice also how Jesus steers His words to address the Pharisees motivation. He uses the term Father several times in this passage. This introduces a fresh concept to the Jews – one of relationship as opposed to cold religious rules. He’s saying do these things for your Father, not for man.
I want my performance to please my Music Pastor and the audience, but I want to please them for the right reason and out of the right motivation. Ultimately, my performance needs to glorify God and please Him. And when I put Him in the right place (um – that would be first), then everything else falls into proper order. Like buttoning a shirt, when I get the top button right, the rest fall into place. But when I get the top button wrong, the rest of the buttons are out-of-place.
As we all prepare for tonight, perform as if you were performing for the Father and He was your only audience. Perform as if no one else was in the room except Him. It is Him alone who deserves the glory and praise. You can get pat on the back and a “Great Job!”. But remember, you didn’t perform for that. You performed to glorify the Father! And you will receive His reward which is better than a thousand “Great Jobs!”.