I have been blessed with the ability to sing and also blessed to participate in church choirs for many years. During that time, I have sung under a number of choir directors.
Some of these ministers of music have been extraordinary in their use of their talents in service to God. Singing under their leadership has made worshipping (and even practicing for worship) a wonderful and inspiring experience.
However, during these many years of singing, there have been several directors that were not so gifted. Under the tenure of these latter directors, singing in the choir became a chore.
I continued to sing in the choir only out of a sense of duty. I was still able to concentrate on the words and the notes and constrained to offer the music in worship to honor the God Who graced me with the ability to sing. But the loss of joy in being a part of the choir was tangible.
In thinking back about those more difficult times, it is easy to relate some of the problems to personalities that didn’t mesh.
Some of the time it had to do with a lack of sensitivity to the needs of the particular choir members or the choice of music.
Once or twice, it had to do with the lack of skills in directing and sometimes it was a style that was abrasive or challenging.
Presumably, all of these latter men and women, since they were in Christian ministry even if they were part-time, felt at least some sense of call. They were also willing to offer that ministry to the choirs they were leading.
Honoring those thoughts, however, didn’t mitigate the challenge of remaining a part of the choir.
I, too, feel a sense of responsibility to the commitment I have made to be a part of a choir and also to the leadership of the Spirit to the churches we have joined in the various places we have lived. Thus, it behooved me to continue to participate.
And so it is in life: there are times when our days and walk with God shine with joy and pleasure, but then there are times when we are obedient to the Spirit’s leadership just because we know it is what we are supposed to do – it is our duty.
On the joy-filled days, it is easier to speak a word in love and reach out with compassion. On the more trying days, it is much harder to love the unlovable, minister to the mean-spirited, and pray for my enemies.
Our commission from the Savior to go into all the world (starting with our next-door neighbors) is not dependent on our feelings about singing in the choir or other forms of ministry, but meshes with the verses in Micah:
“But He’s already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women. It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love, and don’t take yourself too seriously – take God seriously.”
– Micah 6:8
Sara Powell is a freelance writer, former board member of the Baptist Center for Ethics and former moderator of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Georgia. She and her husband, Bill, live in Hartwell, Ga. Visit her website at LiftYourHeart.com.