In Tune, On Time, and Not Too Loud
I wonder how many times I’ve said this?
“The trouble with the University of Life is that it never publishes the cost of tuition and you don’t even know you’re enrolled in a course until you’re halfway through its 1st exam. ”
That saying is usually met with nervous laughter (because somebody’s been there) or a defeated groan, maybe because things didn’t go well. Those high-tuition courses can have lasting value when we find the resolve to keep going or draw our strength from on High. Even the University of Life courses that cost us dearly —maybe we failed— can yield invaluable life lessons to pass along.
The Lord has been quietly impressing on me for several months that the disciple-making principles we applied to worship ministry in one of the churches I served are still valid. Nearly 2 decades ago, right in the middle of thriving work and ministry, I committed a flagrant foul (to borrow basketball imagery) and the instant ejection cost me and my family dearly.
While I knew my Heavenly Father forgave me the instant I looked upward and whimpered, “Dear God – what have I done?! Have mercy!” I knew full well the consequences were irreversible. I imagined the Enemy chuckling to himself, glad he didn’t have to worry about me anymore. I’d been benched. I owned my wrong. Worked hard to rebuild relationships and restore my credentials.
God gave me four years in a church I loved and proved to me and to our worship community that disciple-making can and should take place within the worship venue. My joy returned. Then in early 2014, we moved back to Wisconsin to help care for my mother in law and be near family. My work and ministry were no longer woven together. Over time I quietly came to accept that I’d never teach those principles, that method, again. It looks like I was wrong about that.
If you’re a musician, this picture will make sense to you. It’s like the Savior is conducting the ensemble I’m in. Our eyes just met, and His baton is pointed in my direction. I see the delightful melodic line in the music before me. I watch for His cue, whispering a phrase I repeated a thousand times when life felt like counting rests: “In tune, on time, and not too loud.”
I’ve no grandiose plans, no ambitious undertaking in mind.
“Unless the Lord builds a house,” Solomon wrote,
“the work of the builders is wasted.
Unless the LORD protects a city,
guarding it with sentries will do no good.
It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night
anxiously working for food to eat;
for God gives rest to his loved ones” Psalms 127.1-3 NLT
If something happens with this, it will be the Lord’s doing. I’m just (finally) agreeing to let him use my voice, pen, and things I’ve learned.
In tune, on time, and not too loud.
I’m grateful for the opportunity to encourage disciple-making in the worship venue. I know how rewarding it can be.
So stay tuned if that made you smile just now. There should be some interesting, uplifting discussions ahead.