Our worship leader was out of town this last week. That meant that my wife and I had to lead.
That isn’t a problem. My wife is a talented pianist, and I can strum a guitar. She has a beautiful harmonizing voice, and I can do alright, well enough so that I made backup worship leader. But it had been a long time since I had picked up my guitar or sang.
I tried playing through some Chris Tomlin, and even just strumming through those three chords, my fingers were sore and indented. My voice was scratchy and fading. I was quickly becoming discouraged.
And when songs weren’t meshing well together, when kids’ needs cut into our practice time, I started to panic. I couldn’t do this. I couldn’t lead worship. I couldn’t do a good enough job to stand in front of a church and usher people into the Holy of Holies. What was I going to do? If I couldn’t give God my best, why even try?
I know I’m not the only one that has ever felt this way. Even those people that are extraordinarily gifted, those people that sing like angels or shred guitars like Slash, even those people who feel insecure or incapable of bringing something worthy to God. People that preach or teach, people that have serving gifts, people that call themselves Christians will find themselves time and time again feeling terrible because what they have to offer is not enough for God.
While we are broken and sinful people, this is not what we are supposed to do. This is not how we are called to behave, whether our gifts are refined or not. While sitting in my frustration and disappointment, the Spirit reminded me of the old King James scripture.
“Make a JOYFUL noise unto the Lord, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise.” – Psalm 98:4 KJV, emphasis added
It says a joyful noise. Not necessarily a skillful noise or a perfected noise, but a joyful one. This isn’t to say that we shouldn’t give God our best or practice before we lead worship. But God isn’t as worried about the expertise of our skills. He isn’t going to stop us if we do a less than perfect job. He wants to see our hearts. He wants to hear the love and thanksgiving, all the things that we are feeling towards God, expressed through our gifts.
Did this make all my nervousness and apprehension about leading worship go away? No. But it helped me to put the focus where it needed to be. I was called to worship God, regardless of my skill or talent, regardless of how rusty I might have been.
Give God all your worship, whatever your skill level, whatever your gift. God wants your worship, just as you are.
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