This chapter’s story gives an extreme example of an artist who is expecting special treatment because of her talent. I’m sure she would never actually say that, in fact she probably doesn’t even think in those terms, but that’s what her actions show. Although very few, if any of us are this extreme. Each one of us has a little bit of this attitude even if you don’t consider yourself “talented” or “professional” – whatever that means! This attitude has little to do with how talented we might be.
Maybe you don’t think of yourself as the greatest singer, musician or other artist in the world, but realize that you’re probably as good as the rest in the church. “I don’t really need to practice at home because I can do alright just by showing up on Sunday.” We would never say that or even think that, but do our actions reveal that? Or maybe you’re ok with showing up late for rehearsals because you’ve been in a specific ministry for many years, maybe you’ve even helped to start that ministry, so you deserve special treatment. Maybe you’re older, or younger, more experienced, less experienced, a new Christian, a “mature” Christian, a child of someone important, an elder, a deacon, church staff! These are not just things we think, or fabricate, they might be true, but we are still no different than anyone else.
I’m usually (not always) the person who goes to Wal-mart to stock up on bottled water for the music department. I’m also the music minister and I spend a lot of time at the church. Sometimes it’s really hard for me to shell out those 50 cents for a bottle of water. I deserve a free bottle of water for all my hard work, don’t I? Maybe I do and maybe you would agree, but it’s not about the water. Here’s that attitude creeping in again! So now instead of serving our church for the glory of God, I’m making lists of all my great sacrifices so I can feel good about myself and get a free bottle of water. Do you see how backwards that is and how easily it can happen?
We all like to feel special and appreciated for who we are, our talent, or what we do. But, the problem arises when we expect it, or just take it! God has called us to a different standard, an attitude of a servant. The attitude of superiority can be a barrier that henders servanthood. The attitude of superiority can be anything, not just talent. If we think we’re a little higher on the importance list than others’ selfish ulterior motives, check your heart. I believe God gives us desires and talents that come into line with what He’s called us to do.
Sometimes though, we can begin to work to satisfy our desires and leave God out of the picture. Be careful and guard your heart.
- Confidence in our giftedness alone.
You do need to have confidence in the gifts that God has given you. Without that confidence you’ll never step out to do what God has given the gift for! Unfortunately, the gift sometimes gives us a false sense of confidence in ourselves. It will even carry us for a while. It’s kind of like living on 110% of your income. You can do it for a while, but when it catches up to you, you’re in a BIG mess! So have confidence in the gifts God gives, but realize without God, the gifts are worthless.
The book has some great thoughts on humility. As a music minister, I believe I see a lot more false humility than blatant lack of humility. It’s amazing how arrogant we can be while claiming to be humble – false humility.
We need to get a true view of who we are by seeing God’s view. A healthy self-esteem knows our identity in Christ. “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment…” (Romans 12:3) So how do we see God’s view? How would we think of ourselves with sober judgment and understand true humility? Humble Yourself Before God. The song “We Humble Ourselves” really sums this up. Realize how great God is and how small we are. Then, realize that we turned our back on God even though He loved us. When we come to those realizations, all we can do is submit to the Lord and humble ourselves before Him!
- Humble yourself before others.
Whatever your ministry is – music, children, youth, etc. – it’s the most important ministry to you. Well, duh? It should be to you! We have to understand though, that in the Body of Christ our ministry is no more important than any other. Each one is a vital part. Humble yourself before others by treating the ministry God gave them as important as the ministry God put in your heart.
Each one of us is simply using the gifts God gave us as He directs. It’s our duty. (Luke 17:10)
- Die to your desire to be the greatest.
Replace the desire to be better than others with a heart for excellence in your craft that glorifies the Lord. Instead of competing with others, encourage them in their gifts.
- Become a servant artist.
Begin coming to church and even rehearsals ready to give and serve, instead of receiving. Remember that God’s message and direction is more important than us! I pray that nothing we do will distract from God’s message, but lead to it. Our motive must be The Kingdom. To see Him increase and we decrease (John 3:30). Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit (Phil 2:3-4). Put others above yourself. Remember, after all God has done for us, it’s our privilege and an act of spiritual worship to offer ourselves as a living sacrifice (Rom 12:1).
Are you a volunteer or are you called of God? The Lord wants obedience over sacrifice. If your involvement in an artistic ministry is only out of duty or obligation, maybe you should no longer be involved. Serving the Lord is a sacrifice, but it should be out of obedience to His Spirit.
It’s still not easy, but even when it’s hard, there is joy in it. Don’t lose your head though! Know your boundaries. I know I’m called to the music ministry but I also know what my most important ministry is, spending time with the Lord, then ministering to Eunice, and Jordyn.
Down the list is the Church On The Rock music ministry and leading worship. They’re still both important, and get a lot of my time, but I have to keep them in their place.
None of this happens overnight. Being a servant goes against our flesh and everything the world teaches. Begin to put it into practice by serving an audience of one, that is, the one who created you and gave you the gifts you have. Do everything unto Him. Many of these other problems fade into the background, when He is all that matters. We don’t get hurt as easy, others are a blessing to us, we’re not threatened and best of all, He can then work through us to achieve His will and expand His Kingdom.
Thoughts from the book "Heart of The Artist".