Make Something Great
Every leader needs a cause.
There are wrongs that must be made right. There are wounds that must be tended to. There are directions to be discerned and deep needs to be lovingly met. For the Christian leader, the cause he or she is living for is the cause of Christ.
A few years ago, a passage from Psalm 37 became a daily prayer for me.
Psalm 37:5-6 NIV
Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn,
the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.
Back to First Grade
During an extended season between church jobs, I took a job assisting a first grade teacher. I Learned so much from these first graders! The very first day, I knew in my heart that working with first graders might not lengthen my life but it would make my life seem longer!
In an effort to maintain a connection with my calling to music/worship leadership, I composed a manifesto called “The Justice of My Cause” which declared my cause to be worship renewal. I read my manifesto several times a day and its meaning did much to comfort me with promises that I still had a work to do for God. The exact nature of my cause was not well defined but that didn’t seem to matter. I was back in first grade in more than one way!
Soon, the Lord blessed me with a part time position and my “cause” began to disappear into my job as orchestra director at a wonderful church. I waited for understanding from the Spirit as to the nature of my cause.
The Bible Speaks!
On July 9, 2013, the Lord spoke to me through the Scriptures. In Psalm 45, the Sons of Korah, express their longing for their Messiah.
Psalm 45:4 ESV
In your majesty ride out victoriously for the cause
of truth and meekness and righteousness;
let your right hand teach you awesome deeds!
The Messiah would have a three-fold cause:
Here was my cause! To me, these three words fully reveal the cause of Christ, and therefore, my cause:
TRUTH: In a world beset with falsehood, my cause is to discover and communicate truth—the truth of Christ, the Good News of the Gospel of Christ, and the life-yielding principles of the Kingdom of Christ.
MEEKNESS: Other translations use the word, humility. This does not mean weakness! It means strength submitted to a higher cause. Humility is the character of Christ reborn in us. This is heaven’s standard pitch, the spiritual A-440 to which all Christian artists must tune their instruments. When we humble the earthen vessel of our humanity, the anointing of the Spirit contained in us (the treasure Paul speaks about in 2 Corinthians 4:7) can flow through us in power.
RIGHTEOUSNESS: The Messiah enters our world to change things, to rescue the lost, to heal the sick, to teach the ignorant, to restore the ruined, to shatter the schemes of Satan, to lift up the fallen and to humble the proud. These and many more deeds of righteousness are the work of the church. Deeds of righteousness are the good things we can make great and the great things we can create with the skills God has given us.
With my cause well-defined by the Word, I was ready to give my life for it. The leader’s cause puts everything in his/her life into a manageable context. God begins to instruct him/her in specific ways and with some surprising voices. Case in point:
MAKE SOMETHING GREAT
Dateline: July 5, 2013 Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida.
Tampa Bay Rays 8-Chicago White Sox 3
It was a good game, an 8 to 3 win and an enjoyable outing with my wife after finishing another music ministry project.
The Lakeland Patriotic Community Band
This one was a July 4th concert with a community band and the Lord gave us a fine success. It is amazing how good a small band of 32 pieces can sound on a concrete floor, under in an open-air dome which acted like an acoustical shell as they play into the heavy, humid Florida night. It rained on us three times during our 45 minute concert of patriotic band music.
July 5th was an independence day of its own for us. I was not expecting to hear a “Word from the Lord” at a major league baseball game. But that is what happened. I saw a huge electronic advertisement for Stanley Tools flash this slogan:
Now, I am not a “tool belt” kind of guy. My tools are words, notes, computers, and clever thoughts, not claw hammers and saw horses. But the urge to “Make Something Great” lit a flame burning deep within me. I did not expect a Word from the Lord to be flashed to me from a video screen at a baseball game. But there it was! The message was not really from Stanley Tools; it was from the Holy Spirit. Immediately I saw two meanings:
“Create something that will last”
Great things are lasting things. Good things, even really good things, are born, do their assigned tasks, and then pass away when the need for them is gone. Great things transcend the moment of their creation. Great things match great needs in the hearts of people, needs that linger across generational and chronological barriers and even cultural divides. The Lord was saying this: “With all the good and necessary things you must make, be sure to seek Me for something great.” I want to create something that lingers and flourishes long after I am gone.
“Take something that is good and make it great”
In the church we deal with good works, good people, and good intentions. I felt the Lord encouraging me to elevate my efforts to a higher plane. I should attempt to graduate from the good to the great. I should dive deeper into the sea of grace called the Bible. I should climb higher up the mountain road to Zion to find vistas I have never imagined.
OK, enough with the poetic imagery—what do I mean?
- If I have an arrangement to do for worship, I must try to make it better than adequate.
- If my orchestra is going to play a prelude, I should find a great one and play it with a higher level of excellence.
- If I am going to write something about worship, let me serve the moment but also the ages with my writing.
If ministry were a game, I would use the tired cliché, “Step up my game.” But it isn’t a game. I am serving my Creator. I should endeavor to take good things and make them into something great.
What is your cause?
Let the light of the Spirit search your heart. Keep your eyes open for a sign from God. It may come to you as neon, as a digital image, or even from creation itself, but be assured, God will show you. Keep listening for His voice in the Word of God and in the voices of those around you. He is speaking truth, meekness, and righteousness. Go back to first grade if that’s what it takes. If we will only listen for His voice, we will hear Him.
When you have seen the signs and heard the Word, you can ride forth with Jesus to Make Something Great!
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