My wife and I have been involved over the last few months with the Temecula Valley Master Chorale, a 70-voice choir that meets for over two hours each Tuesday night and is dedicated to excellence in music. We joined so that we could learn music from a different perspective, and it is incredible (and absolutely convicting sometimes!) how much this little “music world” is SO big to some of our fellow members and many of the directors. Some of them live this stuff, and are totally consumed by the words, the feelings, the communication of the music, and the total perfection that is expected in the performance.
So we work hard. Two or three hours of singing at a time wears on your body, and, depending on what concert we’re working towards, it leaves you a little worn out at the end of the night! All the hours of rehearsal and all the intense singing culminates in our concerts, and we happened to have our Spring Concert last Sunday.
Night after night we sing our lungs out, memorize music, take notes, sing other parts over and over, go early for section rehearsals and work and work and work… Finally the day comes when it’s time for our concert. We’ve invited our friends and we see them in the audience… We perform beautifully and the applause fills the room… We bow… and we leave stage and go home… It’s done! What a GREAT concert!
But that’s it.
While it’s fun, and while we learn a lot from our director, the only thing to live for is always… the next concert. It hit me the next day (Monday) that often times after the victory comes somewhat of a… crash. Have you ever experienced that? You work and work toward something, and when it’s over, it’s OVER… and you “crash.”
I often wonder what it’s like for a person who doesn’t know the Lord and doesn’t know what he or she is REALLY living for. We’ll talk to career people and they’ll point to their families, their homes, their cars, their successes and ALL their accomplishments, but what’s the point of all that? What would you work and live for after you have all that… stuff? More stuff? There has to be a line somewhere.
So, while we had one mountaintop experience last Sunday afternoon with the concert, a culmination of a lot of work, we got to experience at church a whole different kind of mountaintop… the Youth Conference testimonies.
If you were there I think you would agree with me when I say that I’d MUCH rather have our types of victories than theirs. We got to hear from only a couple of the teens that attended the West Coast Baptist College Youth Conference, but our hearts were absolutely full (and challenged) from hearing what God did in their lives! Even with all the exhaustion and energy that was expended at the conference, the kind of “tired” that’s experienced on trips like that is SO much more of a satisfying “tired” than anything else.
The contrast, to me, happened to be magnified because both “mountaintops” took place on the same day. A few of those contrasts are as follows:
- One works for man’s applause; the other works for God’s. We got our applause at the concert, but then that was it. Now they’ve got to be asking, “What’s next? And how will it be better?” God has given us His Word and simply wants us to follow His plan, and everything is better then.
- One sees immediate results; the other is a process that grows. The culmination of all our work was the final song of our concert. The culmination of what took place at the Youth Conference won’t really be known until heaven. I know that I can personally look back on the Youth Conference as a huge step in my life, but it certainly wasn’t the END of my spiritual growth!
- One enhances the temporal; the other enhances the spiritual. While the world tries to make everything “down here” seem like it’s the most important thing to live for, God tells us that reality, and what we should LIVE for, is what’s going on in the spiritual life. Our biggest concern should NOT be for what we can see, but what we can NOT see!
- One produces better musicians; the other produces better Christians. Which would you rather have? Someone who knows theory, can communicate a feeling through the medium of music, and can… sing? Or someone who realizes that God loves him, that at every breath 10 people are going to hell, and that it’s HIS job to be the light in others’ lives? Would you rather have a great choir singer or a loving friend? If you had a problem, would you go to a great piano player or to someone that knows God and loves you?
- One gives temporary satisfaction; the other is permanent. I’m not saying that we as Christians will never lose the feeling of satisfaction, but I know that we can rest solidly on the Scriptures and know that if we’re being obedient to God, He’s pleased. That sure provides a WHOLE lot more satisfaction than anything else I can think of!
I fear that the whole “career mindset” really blinds us to what’s important. The ONLY thing that will matter in 400 years is whether you loved God and lived according to His way. Everyone will face the judgment–there’s no getting around that one–but I think that too often we’re absolutely consumed with what makes US look good rather than what makes HIM look good.
Think spiritually. Love God. Love others. Be… Christian. It’s a simple life, the Christian life is. It’s certainly not easy, but it IS simple. Just choose God’s way and you can’t go wrong!