It seems that every time I log onto to cym.com lately I see another blog entitled “Stuff Youth Ministers Like.” Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knockin’ it, but it got me thinking . . . What about us musicians? What do we like? I mean . . . besides our hair, the Grammy Awards, and creating websites with our full names and “.com” at the end?
The first thing that came to my mind was gear! I’m talking about guitars, amps, keyboards, soundboards, drums, percussion instruments, lights . . . you name it! We love to go to Guitar Center and play every instrument in the place. We love to buy it. We love to check out all the deals on Craig’s List. (No I didn’t invent the site.) And most of all, we love to go and try it out. (Have you ever wondered if the Guitar Center staff go crazy listening to everyone playing instruments all day long?)
So what’s wrong with our obsession with gear? Well, maybe nothing if we are buying these items to serve God in our ministries and get the best possible sound for our praise of God. But, if I have to be honest, there have been several times in my own life when the gear has consumed me and I began to lose my focus. Is our goal to have the biggest or best mixing console out of all the musicians we know or is our goal to make great music and serve God through it?
I am reminded of a story good friend and fellow musician Tom Booth shared with me about an experience in prayer he had where he felt God calling him to either sell or give away a lot of his gear. As Tom says, “It was a good day to be my friend,” as he gave away some of his guitars and sold his grand piano for next to nothing. God was calling him to simplify his life. If we reflect upon what may be surrounding us or filling up our music studios or bedrooms, that we either don’t use or don’t need, maybe He is calling us to do the same.
I know as a musician, we are almost always filling our heads with sound and I know in my own life, I don’t take nearly enough time to listen to the voice of God.
If we don’t take the time to hear God speak, then how can we know what He’s calling us to? Sure, we sing about it all the time in our worship songs, but do we live it? In the Gospels, Jesus tells a rich young man to sell all he has and give it to the poor and he goes away sad because he has many possessions. I’m obviously not God and I’m not telling anyone what to buy, sell, or keep, but I am just opening up the question for all of us, myself included, what do we need to give up to serve God more completely?