The Other Side of Excellence
Well I was (very gently) taken to task by a dear sister on my post “The Pursuit of Excellence.” This sister is a pastor and brought up something those of us in the church have all experienced. Basically it’s when dear Aunt Erma feels the need to sing a solo in the service. She has no real singing ability but because she is a pillar of the church, no one has ever told her. This sister asked if she should make a visitor sit through that and that’s a great question.
Now if she had said should she make the congregation sit through that, my knee-jerk reaction would be “yes” because the church does not exist to make believers comfortable. But when she made it about a visitor who may or may not be a believer, my tune changed because I believe the church exists largely for the sake of those beyond it’s walls. Maybe we need to slightly revisit excellence.
I’ll use myself as an example. I LOVE to sing. I pity the person who drives my car after me if I forgot to turn the volume down because they would be in for a shock. It can get pretty loud in there. There are even times where I think I sound pretty good in my car. But that’s where it stays because I’ve been told often my singing voice is not very good.
On the other hand, I have received compliments on my speaking voice. I’m not saying that to boast because quite honestly, I don’t see it. I know it is the voice God gave me and I know He uses it, but when I hear it played back, I think it sounds really nasal and a little whiny.
It’s confusing and makes me wonder if we sound different to others than we do in our own heads. Kind of like the weird questions I ask myself, for example: We all basically agree that grass is green but what if the green I see looks like my purple to you. We’d never know the difference because we all agree that grass is green. (I told you it was weird)
What if Aunt Erma thinks she sounds great and no one has told her any different. I mean if you’ve seen the first five weeks or so of American Idol, you know there’s a lot of that going around. How do we deal with this? I think it comes back to God and trusting that He has gifted you for something specific. If the vast majority of people see my speaking voice as a gift and my singing voice as… well… not a gift, then God will probably receive more glory from my speaking than my singing and I am here to glorify God then I should probably focus on speaking unless God says different.
Don’t get me wrong, I still sing praise and I sing loud and “proud” but I do it in the midst of the congregation lifting my praise in community, to be drowned out by the better singers. I leave the solos to others.
Maybe in the church we just need to be sure to be honest. We praise people in the areas where they are gifted and encourage them to pursue that. We don’t crush their spirits, but we call out their best. We speak the truth in love and we help them to be excellent.
Bible Reading Guide
An important part of following God is knowing what He wants and a great way to know what He wants is to read His Word. Follow this plan and you will finish reading the Bible in a year.
Matthew 19,20; Psalm 69
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