Playing Rhythm Guitar for Jesus

 God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.

1 Peter 4:10-11

Almost fifty years ago the Oak Ridge Boys sang, “Nobody wants to play rhythm guitar behind Jesus. Everybody wants to be the lead singer in the band.” Frankly speaking, I never thought I would reference the Oak Ridge Boys in a column, but when you are right your right. Besides, I was more into Elvis than Elvira!

Two thousand years ago even the disciples disputed among themselves about who would be the greatest, so this is nothing new. Satan stirs our stinky thoughts of pride till it swirls us down his dirty drain. It all becomes about “me” instead of about God. This is what makes social media so dangerous. We can easily get caught up, or brought down, by selfish thoughts or actions which focus attention on ourselves rather than God and others.

But it could be more than simply pride which keeps us from recognizing our gifting, it may be a lack of understanding, or obedience to God.

Starting in Genesis, you realize that God placed us here to live a life pleasing to Him. God is our creator, and the Supreme creator over all creation. The Psalmist in Psalms 104 reminds us that God is the creator over all the universe, and because he is sovereign, we should align ourselves with his creative design. When we submit to God, and confess our sins, we come into alignment with our God-designed destiny. Until then, we are only a figment of what we are meant to be. When we connect with God we come into harmony with the rest of His creation.

We tend to reduce gifting’s to musical abilities, art, singing, speaking, writing, athletic, or intellectual abilities. But like fingerprints, we have unique skill sets that set us apart from one another. We are God’s masterpiece, his creative design, uniquely developed to serve his greater purposes!

Ephesians 2:10 reminds us, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”

Sometimes we can be in His obedience and outside of the culture. Consider the woman and the expensive perfume in Matthew 26. Jesus had changed her life. She had repented and recognized the blessings of His presence in her life. Some of the disciples criticized her actions as wasteful, but Jesus rebuked them and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.”

She did it out of love and obedience to Jesus, not for recognition or praise. She went against the tide!

Are you washing the feet of Jesus with your tears? Do you love your neighbor enough to tearfully pour out your prayers before God to save their soul? Compassion is a gift and can be cultivated. Jesus is the only one who can fill the gaping hole in your soul, but He must be shared! We spend so much time chasing financial goals but all the money in the world cannot satisfy the longing in our soul. Financial gain is wonderful, but until you share it with others to glorify God, it is just a bunch of zeros on paper.

Ben Franklin said, “Money never made a man happy yet, nor will it. The more a man has, the more he wants. Instead of filling a vacuum, it makes one.”

Out of the many gifting’s God has given, hospitality and serving others is as important as any of them. If a person does not know how to honor others, and respect them, then they are not honoring God. When we honor and serve others with excellence, we are walking alongside of God, sharing Jesus with those we serve. And check your language. If I, me, or my, is in every sentence you say, well, it may be all about you.

Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 1 Peter 4:9

When we align ourselves with the Spirit of God, He takes over and resets the goals for our creative gifts. The transformation begins on the inside, and our gifts blossom on the outside, sharing the Good News of Jesus with the world. Be honest with yourself, am I using my God given gifts with others? Am I kind, generous, and do things with excellence for God?

“In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.” Romans 12:6-8

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