One of my absolutely favorite things to do in the world is sing. It’s a pretty specific kind of singing though. It’s singing with the worship team or choir at church.
It is an awesome feeling, and in a world that uses the word “awesome” way too much, I literally mean awesome, and in a world that uses the word “literally” way too much, I literally mean literally, too.
I’m not typically a very emotional person. I don’t laugh much even though I think many things are funny, I don’t cry much even though I think many things are sad. And even though I’m often joyful, particularly about the things Jesus Christ has done for me in my life, I don’t show that a whole lot either.
Fortunately, singing helps me find a way to express that. It gives me an outlet for that emotion. This doesn’t mean I’m very good at raising my hands in the air and I couldn’t dance if my life depended on it, but I’m better at it when I’m singing, either in the congregation or on the stage.
It also doesn’t mean I’m very good at singing. Maybe I’m good, but not very good. And this is the problem I have inside my head.
I wish I were better.
The idea of a choir is for its members to blend. In an ideal world, you would hear only one voice — or maybe four: soprano, alto, tenor and bass. No one would stand out.
It’s not just a choral thing (although that is the No. 1 guiding principle in choral singing), it’s also a Christian thing. The whole idea of leading worship in church is to enhance worship, to help the worshippers draw closer to God. In a perfect world, the people in the congregation wouldn’t even know the leaders were there; it would just be them and God.
In theory, leading worship should perhaps be like umpiring a baseball game: Everyone agrees an umpire is at his best when no one who played the game or watched the game remembers he was there. He didn’t stick out.
Of course, it’s not a complete analogy. There are soloists in church. They are the ones whose voices are good enough; you want them to stick out. I wish my voice was good enough to be one of those persons.
But it’s not. I’m such a ham. Listen, I’m still having a great time, people are happy I’m there and these people I sing with are the best friends I’ve got. Singing with these people is my biggest joy and my biggest blessing in life.
One of the nicest compliments I’ve ever gotten was that I am a “Renaissance man.” I’m hopeful that doesn’t mean I look like I was born in the 1400s. It apparently means I can do a lot of things well. Or at least that I can do a lot of things.
However, it makes me mindful of the phrase “jack of all trades, master of none.” Sometimes, I confess I wish I could be a master of one.
It wouldn’t necessarily have to be singing. It would just be really cool if I were the go-to guy for something. I wouldn’t have to be the best ever, just really good at a particular thing. “Oh, no!” they’d say. “Our flange has fallen off the sprocket! We better call Jim!”
But I digress. Back to singing.
I don’t want to be the greatest worship music soloist ever. I would just like to be good enough to be called upon every once in a while. “Jim would be just right for this,” they’d say, and I’d modestly clear my throat and sing it.
Modestly? Oops. I think I’ve stumbled upon my problem.
See, that’s the thing about modesty. The minute you think you’ve got it, you don’t.
I need to understand that I’m part of a team. A team is made up of people who all have their specific role. My role is to blend. That and maybe some comic relief.
If I had the gift, they’d tell me. I may not have the gift, but I do have a gift. I sing well enough — and provide enough comic relief — that my fellow singers would miss me if I was gone.
The model here is John the Baptist, or as he is sometimes more accurately called, John the Baptizer. He came to pave the way for Jesus Christ’s ministry.
John understood his role. In John 3:28-30, he says:
“You yourselves are my witnesses that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent ahead of Him.’ He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. So this joy of mine has been made full. He must increase, but I must decrease.”
In my very small role of occasionally helping to lead worship (and in everything else, for that matter), I have to understand it’s not about me.
My role is to point to Christ. I must decrease so that He may increase.