What do you do when in the middle of leading worship you have a train wreck? Things are going smoothly and then suddenly the service flies off the rails. Everybody has had it happen, and some “catastrophes” are worse than others… but all of them make us feel helpless and, dare I say it, embarrassed.
Some Sundays we leave feeling as if everything went perfectly, no technical malfunctions or difficulties, no slip-ups or word vomit, and the music sounded well rehearsed and prepared. And then there are the Sundays where you feel like you take giant steps backwards in the opposite direction of perfection or excellence.
When it feels like you can’t do anything right what do you do? The train is “off the tracks” so, now what?
Look to Jesus.
It is true that God commands the pursuit of excellence, but there are times that even the most prepared individual messes up.
2 Peter 1:3 “…as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and excellence…”
Colossians 3:23-24 “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.”
Our best-laid plans can be laid to waste in an instant. But, the good news is that God’s strength is perfected in our weakness. When things don’t go as planned, people are able to see more clearly our humanity and fallibility.
God commands excellence, but forgives in the coming short of perfection. To strive for excellence means to do our best, and to be content to leave the rest for God; to be perfectionistic means that we aren’t ever truly satisfied with the results of something that we do.
The only perfect thing on this side of the fall to ever be will be Jesus.
Godly Biblical excellence allows us to live at peace with God, knowing that we are giving our best effort with His aid; to be perfectionistic means to live anxiously, always worrying about the flaws in what we are doing or that are in our past. To strive for excellence means to humbly depend on God for our abilities, strength, and results, and to give Him glory. If we could ever be “perfect” then why would we need God? It is because of our lack that we can see our NEED for Jesus.
My encouragement to all of us today is that our worship is not about professionalism and perfection. Neither of those things are necessary. Worship must always be about the lifting up of Christ.
Yes, we must seek to improve in every area. We can seek help or practice and study more. But in spite of what happens we must NEVER take our eyes off Jesus, or we have missed the point and purpose. Offer areas that you continue to struggle with to God in prayer, and then you give thanks for what happens. We must trust that God will be glorified in all the things that we do, the good and the bad, the excellent and the “not-so-much.”
So, this week, while we will work towards getting the songs right, I hope that we work towards getting to know Jesus better even more. If we deliberately prepare and still make mistakes, the world isn’t going to leave its orbit. God won’t smite us.
Christ will be lifted up, Christ will be honored, and we will be transformed. In the end, we will eventually have PERFECT worship… in eternity with Jesus.
Remember, God can continue working, even through our mistakes.