For it is by grace you have been saved...

Monday, February 20, 2012

Serving Christ "On Key"

It’s not every day I make my wife cry during a sermon. Well, maybe she cries sometimes because they’re so pathetically bad and she can’t believe she married me, but that’s a whole other story. This was different. I asked her afterward if everything was ok and she just told me that it seemed everything we talked about that night “hit her.” It actually started in choir practice before the service. (Yeah, so it’s your fault, Matt!)

My wife has a beautiful voice. One of the many reasons I fell madly in love with her was listening to her to sing of her love for Christ. You could tell she meant every word! And yet, she doesn’t have the best “ear.” (you musical types will know what I’m talking about). She’s been singing alto in the choir recently, and at this particular practice, the other altos were all AWOL.

Cheryl told me that she was getting frustrated because she could tell she was singing the wrong notes at times, but couldn’t quite hear in the music what those right notes should be. And even when she did hear them, she couldn’t quite get herself to match up with them.

Now, that’s frustrating to be sure, but nothing to really cry about. The problem is that my wife is also a very insightful person. Not that her insightfulness is a problem, it’s a good thing, but you know what I’m saying. Anyway, she began to think about this whole thing and realized what a picture of our spiritual life it can be. Sometimes, we try hard to do what we know is right, and yet, we just can’t quite hit the right notes. Think Paul in Romans 7.

The message that night happened to be about the nature of the church, and the images Paul gives us in 1 Corinthians 3 and the purposes we ought to be working towards. She put two and two together and got, well… tears.

In thinking about being part of the family of God and spurring one another on toward love and good deeds, encouraging others in the body toward maturity, etc., she was thinking back to that choir practice. She thought “yeah, if there had just been one other alto there helping to hit those notes it would have been easier.” And then, “am I helping others in the church ‘hit the right notes’ as they seek to serve Christ?” Told you she was an insightful woman.

So what about you? Are you serving on key? Are you working hard, by God’s grace and in His Spirit, to “hit the right notes;” to do those things you know you ought to be doing? Are you struggling sometimes just to hear the right notes, maybe because there are too many other distractions in your life? How are you helping others? Are you doing your part to add to the harmony in the church, seeking to help others stay on key as well? Or are you the sour notes that throws things off?

This is good stuff people. Some very good questions to ask yourself as you seek to glorify Christ in His church. I may even work it into a sermon someday… though I hope it doesn’t make Cheryl cry again!

NOTE: In interest of full disclosure I should let you know that my wife granted me permission to use her story. Don't want any trouble started, you know!


Eddie Eddings said...

Scott, you are a wise man. Always get permission from the wife. I learned the hard way when I posted a photo of my lovely wife (I thought it was a good picture) on Facebook.

Kevin Sorensen said...

I'm with Eddie on this one; I've tried to always ask permission from any family member before sharing personal illustrations involving them. Now granted, there have been occasions where I'm asking my dear wife from the pulpit (to which she can hardly say "no"), but that's beside the point, isn't it?

Also, Scott, thanks for this illustration. It's a great analogy and one I may share at some point in the future (I'll just not use your wife as the key point!).

Scott said...

Thanks, Gentlemen, and you're both so right. There were times early on when I would use either my wife or even our kids as illustrations without permission, and it wasn't usually received well. Occasionally I'll still use some "old" stories from the kids, but after all, a parent's job is to embarrass our offspring, right?

Gregg said...

The last few weeks I feel like I have done nothing but sing off key.Good post brother!