...And The Modern Worship Leader.
Have you ever dreamed about getting a random letter in the mail revealing that you had a unknown deceased great, great aunt or uncle who was billionaire and they left you part of their estate? I know I have dreamed that dream many times! It would be fun and really exciting. The first thing I would do is have a mortgage burning party for all my friends and family. The next thing I would do is buy mutant sea bass with lasers on their heads... just because.
I don’t know about you but I love the idea of an inheritance. It’s way cooler than winning the lottery. The lottery is almost completely accidental - like getting hit by lightning. But an inheritance is intentional and thoughtful. When I leave an inheritance I’m saying, “I value this... even after I’m dead!”
I love to walk my property here in Maine and dream with the Lord. I pray about each of my children. I pray for their futures. I seek God’s help and ask for wisdom in my investments of time and money. I ask His advice on how to be as productive as possible in the places that I labor. When I take these walks my prayers are focused on expanding all my borders, both physical and spiritual, for the next generation. The dream is to leave behind a legacy for my children’s children - my ceiling is to be their foundation.
The Bible actually has a lot to say about this stuff and naturally my antenna is always up, ready for God’s thoughts on the subject. I’ve been reading the book of Ezekiel lately. Today I came to chapter 44. Throughout the whole chapter, God is laying out the ground rules for the Levitical Priests. He has so much to say concerning how they are to act in the temple and how they are to act in their lives. However, verse 28 really jumped out to me, “This shall be their inheritance: I am their inheritance: and you shall give them no possession in Israel; I am their possession.”
God really wanted to set the Levites apart. His heart was to create a holy standard and form a priesthood unlike any other. He gave them special positioning and a completely unique set of rules for private and public life. The Levites were focused on one thing and one thing only - ministering to the Lord.
As worship leaders today aren’t we called to be like the Levites in a way? At the most basic level, we’re appointed to minister to the Lord in worship - both in our private and public lives. We’re also given the great privilege of helping others offer worship to the Lord! We truly do have a unique position in the modern church much like the Levitical priest. That position has plenty of benefits that come with a high level of responsibility.
These days I’m starting to scare myself. Mostly because there are so many opinions on worship out there, sometimes I feel like I don’t even want to think about it anymore. I sort of shut down. Countless voices are speaking of the “mechanics” of worship leading as though A+B+C = Bethel. There are endless click-bait blogs on the “true” values of corporate worship expression. Add to all this the fact that now more than ever local churches are placing big money on the position of worship leader.
If I’m being truly honest, the position of worship leader can quickly start to feel really nice. And why not? Should I not feel good about doing well and succeeding as a leader? Is there anything wrong with getting enjoyment out of helping other people worship the Lord? Should I feel bad that I love it when the songs I lead are sounding really nice? Should I get bummed out that a local church wants to pay me to lead?
Time for a big heart check. Ezekiel 44:28 was a helpful reminder to me that we have no possession in worship. Being a good leader, guiding others to safe harbors of worship, and creating beautiful artistry are not actually the goal. They’re not necessarily wrong - in fact they are part of me being a good servant: they are part of the lane He has called me to run in - but they’re definitely not the goal. He says that He Himself is the goal. He is our possession. He is what we have to look forward to today and tomorrow, the delight for every season. He is Alpha and Omega, the Inheritance for today and tomorrow. It’s about Him.