Recently, I started doing “writing prompts” with someone, and the one for this week is “Write about a passage of Scripture that was influential to you and why”. Here is what came to mind:
I have Bachelors of Arts in Vocal Performance. Many of my undergrad years were spent studying music theory, faking my way through sight-reading, rehearsing endless hours in a piano room, and entertaining/annoying my friends with “Shower Time with Betty” when-no lie-I’d sing Disney songs while in the shower, and they’d gather in the common area to listen & sing-along.
And then I graduated, and 100% of my jobs since graduation have not required nor even preferred a degree in music. How do I feel about all of those hours on stage, in rehearsals, and in a green room? How do I feel about the random information stored in my head about picardy thirds, Porgy & Bess, and how to find and secure the ideal practice room?
I discovered how I feel about all that while reading through the book of 1 Samuel a few years ago. Matt Chandler (a pastor/speaker/author I wish was my friend) said this to summarize where we’re at in Israel’s history:
And then Israel began to grumble again. It’s weird. They started to complain again. Here’s what they were whining about. ”We’re tired of hearing directly from You, God. We want a king. Give us a king, not just a leader. Because the other nations have kings.“ And so God gives them a king, a man named Saul. People Magazine 930 B.C. voted him ”Sexiest Man Alive.“ Saul is a foot taller than everyone else, he’s the best hunter they have and other men feel like lesser men in his presence. He is made king, and it does not take him long to believe the hype about himself. He falls out of favor with God, and God anoints another to be king, David. Now David plays the harp, but you’re not going to jack with him. When he goes and hears Goliath talking noise, he goes to fight him and the rest of the soldiers start mocking him a bit. He says to them, ”God gave me the lion, He gave me the bear; He’ll give me the head of this dog.“ So David’s going, ”I’ve killed a lion and a bear, and both of those were by God’s power and God’s might. God will give me this fool’s head.“ So he plays the harp, but you’re not going to go, ”Hey, harp boy!“ Because you’ll lose your teeth. So in the end, David plays the harp, but he’s a man after God’s own heart.
Doesn’t he have such a way with words? 🙂 So I’m reading 1 Samuel 16 and it gets to verse 18 and it says, “One of the young men answered [Saul], “Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, who is skillful in playing, a man of valor, a man of war, prudent in speech, and a man of good presence, and the Lord is with him.” So Saul says that sounds great! Bring him here! He ends up loving David as a musician and thusly allows David to stay in the King’s court.
That is what was so incredibly impactful to me.
Let me explain, we all know the rest of David’s story. He didn’t stay a full-time musician, he didn’t become a world renowned harpist. God continued using his gift of musicianship and artistry in many ways (cough cough entire book of Psalms), but God’s purpose and plan for David’s life was far greater than his musical aptitude. God used David’s musicianship as the ship that sailed him into the port that was to develop him into the man God called him to be. The man that would lead Israel. The man that would defeat Goliath. The man that would repent deeply after sinning grievously. The man that would, through the power of the Holy Spirit, compose scripture. The man that was after God’s own heart. The man from whose lineage came the True and Better Adam.
God used music as the vehicle that took David into the palace. There God developed a beautiful relationship between Johnathon and David, the likes of which has never been seen on any other page of Scripture. God used David’s musicianship as a vehicle to get him into the palace to show him the inter-workings of the kingdom, of affairs of war, and how to interact with other countries’ noble man. Music is what God used, but it wasn’t the end goal.
Pretentious as this may sound, though humble I long to be, I feel like my life in a very small way parallels that of David’s. Hardship as a child, a skill and love for music that took me to a place that transformed me, namely my college, and a life marked by both failure and a heart for God. At LBC I was developed and sought after as a musician. However, God used my time there on such a grander scale. He developed friendships with Emerald and with Amy that have transformed me forever. He gave me an opportunity to observe, experience, and execute intentional & righteous leadership that has prepared me for the role in which I am currently serving. I learned perseverance. I developed passions. My mind’s eyes were transformed in how I see myself, others, and God himself.
The point wasn’t the palace, the point wasn’t the harp, the point was who God was creating in the palace because of the harp. Likewise for me, the point wasn’t Lancaster Bible College, the point wasn’t vocal performance, the point was the person in me God was creating at Lancaster Bible College because of vocal performance.