“God was not confused when He created you.”
– Jenn Johnson
One of the fundamental things that binds us all together as human beings is the question of purpose.
It’s no wonder that Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Life is counted as the best-selling non-fiction hardback book in history with over 32 million copies sold and counting. For a Christian book, that’s no mean feat.
There are two ways this question can be asked that have nothing to do with the words used and everything to do with the heart behind it.
One asks – I have nothing to offer so why am I even here?
The other states – I know I have something special to offer and I need to figure out what it is so I can give it my all.
Do you believe you can make a difference where you are as you are in this very moment?
The revelation of God I carry is unique to me. No one else can see the world through my eyes. No one else can express what I see the way I can.
But there are already so many voices in the world all saying something about the same thing; who has the time to listen to each one? Do we even need half of them? Do I really want to add my voice to the cacophony of noise? To what end?
All these voices…all these sounds…
And yet, voices and sounds ringing together aren’t inherently a bad thing.
The distinction between clanging noise and a beautiful melody is simply order.
Perhaps the issue isn’t how many voices there are, how many expressions of Him there are, but the order or lack thereof in our expression of His image in our being.
I did a very brief stint in a choir years ago and the first thing that happens when you join is to determine your vocal capacity – what is your basic vocal range; this is what determines your position in the choir literally (those with the same range stand together) and figuratively. It would be ludicrous for a bass to attempt singing soprano or a tenor to try pull off alto.
And from that point on, you work to improve your vocal ability based on what your capacity is. Again, the bass isn’t trying to become a soprano; they’re working to become the best bass they can be.
All the ranges are equally important and respected. They all have their unique value and place. You take one range out completely and you can tell something is missing. Yet, there are times when all other voices have to be silent for one to be highlighted. This serves to add to the beauty of the song not take away from the contribution of those who are silent.
But the unfortunate reality for us as Christians and as the Body of Christ is that we are not quite the harmonious choir we are meant to be.
We want to waltz into the choir room and start bossing everyone around to have them pay homage to our untouchable talent. We want to be in a choir of one because someone inadvertently stepped on us and that somehow makes the entire choir not worth fighting for.
We want to perform solos to show off how well we can sing when the entire choir is supposed to be heard. We shy away from singing our solo when the spotlight is on us because we think it’s not good enough yet the song is incomplete without it, the choir is incomplete without us.
We settle for mediocrity and excuses in comfort and laziness because someone else will hold the tune for us, we can just mime and motion along. We look at each other as enemies who take our shine away from us, rather than kindred spirits who can amplify that which is unique to us making it more powerful.
We take our cues from self or others rather than looking straight ahead to the Choir Master who is there to keep us all in check.
We turn a song whose melody is in the oneness of those who sing it, into a competition whose noise can be heard for miles.
Your voice matters.
My voice matters.
We need every voice that has breath to sing praise to God.
But purpose is no excuse for disorder and dysfunction.
I once had a conversation with God about purpose and call and He told me the reason many people struggle with their call is because they only consider it from an individual perspective – what they have to put into it to make it happen – and conclude it to be an impossible feat. Not only do we forget God’s role in the equation, many of us don’t consider that just as we have been called, so have others, and God has them running beside us so we can journey together. Yes, there is that which can only come from us. But there is a lot that is linked to those God has ordained to run beside us. And vice versa. What we carry isn’t just for the benefit of our call, but for the sake of the call in others.
We are neither abandoned nor alone. As messy as this choir of ours may be, all is not lost. Far from it.
Just like a choir has different roles based on capacity, God has assigned us to different jurisdictions in the spiritual and natural realm. Like the tribes of Israel, there is a portion of the promised land for each of us; an inheritance we need to claim together for ourselves and future generations.
Identify your place. Accept your value – don’t try to diminish it or add unnecessary frills to it. Don’t sell your birth right for a bowl of stew. God made you. There is nothing God makes that is not good. God made you. You are good. Your debt of sin has been fully paid and it doesn’t tarnish you. The cracks only add to your beauty. Express His goodness that is already within you.
Know your people. Those who stand beside you in the choir. Those farthest from you yet still part of you. Grow with them. Love them in their strengths and weaknesses. Love the fear out of them. Feed them as they feed you. Feed them when they can’t feed themselves much less you. Honour them and their role. It is as important as your own. Deeply treasure their voice. You need it more than you may think.
Follow His lead. The Holy Spirit is our Choir Master. He brings order and turns our earthly noise into heavenly melody. When He says go high, go high. When He says go low, go low. When He says go silent, go silent. Out of us all, He is the only One with the full view of the choir. Trust His judgment. He can see things you can’t. He knows more than you can possibly imagine. His love covers us all.
Is there room for me? Yes, there certainly is. There’s room for you too. There’s room for us all. And together with the One who called each one of us by name, we will make beautiful melodies. We will fill the earth with His glory.
If He believes in us enough to die for us, who am I to think that we are any less than what He called us to be? See you in the choir room. I’ll be in the back row, second from the left, singing my heart out to my King.
“The future has come.
The future is not a time zone that has yet to come.
The future is everything that we can be but have not yet become.
The future is everything that we can do but have not yet done.
The future is here.
The future is now.
So go ahead and deliver the future.
Because you can.
Because you must.”
– From “The Future” by TY Bello