This past weekend, I did two different things of which I’m proud: I played percussion on my worship team (for the first time), and I made a killer batch of Guinness beef stew. They are very different endeavors, to be certain, but they have something in common. If you take the time to understand and follow a prescribed set of steps, things will usually turn out pretty well.
I’ve been leading worship since I was about 15 years old. That’s more than thirty years of singing and playing guitar and trying to be as transparent as possible as I encourage a group of people to genuinely express their love and need for Jesus. I’m comfortable doing it. Not in a complacent way, but in that I know I can do a reasonably good job and play the right chords and sing the right notes most of the time. Stepping to the side and playing percussion, however, was a stretching experience for me. It forced me out of my comfort zone and into the unfamiliar.
If I’m being completely honest, I nearly bagged on my percussion gig following our rehearsal last Thursday evening. I felt like a near-complete failure, never quite finding the right groove…never fully becoming the rhythm the rest of the band needed. But, with prayer, practice, and the encouragement of my sweet best friend, I hung in there. I listened to the rest of the music with fresh, engaged ears and I played with all my heart.
And it wasn’t horrible.
The stew, on the other hand, was fantastic. I spent much of Sunday preparing the ingredients, mixing and watching and savoring aromas, and anticipating the full flavor of the finished pot of goodness. There is something very satisfying about taking raw elements, refining them, and making something of substance. I realize I wasn’t building a house or anything…but a pot of delicious stew is still a pretty great finished product.
So, what does all of this have to do with the bigger picture?
This weekend, one of my verses of the day was Philippians 4:8. It is a recipe for a healthy mind and a strong heart. It is a blueprint for how to build thoughts that glorify God and lead to my greater purpose.
When I focus my attention on truth, it strengthens me.
When I concentrate on things that are honorable and righteous, it builds me up.
When I regard things that are pure and lovely and excellent, there is shaped in me a reflection of Christ…and my life has substance and meaning. My rhythm is set right and the aroma of my existence is pleasing.
So, that’s my goal. That’s my desire. I want to understand and follow the path that my Maker has set before me. Whether that looks like doing my best playing percussion on the worship team, or cooking and sharing food with people I love, or looking beyond the troubles of the moment and seeing the pure hope of Christ…that’s what I aim to do.