A True Understanding of Being a Musician in Christ
Attending church with my parents and siblings every Sunday was something my family and I enjoyed. My late cousin, Jerry Billy, played the bass guitar, she seemed to enjoy playing the instrument. I was intrigued by the sound of the bass, how her hands slid smoothly across the neck of the bass. Seemed as if she wasn’t playing it at all. But you hear the bass boom from out of the huge speakers. You had to know she is playing the guitar. Oh, how I wanted to learn to play to.
I wondered just how I would learn and who is going to teach me. Every Sunday I watched and watched. The more I watched , the more I wanted to play. One day, I asked the guitar player if I could try, He said, “Sure, just sit there on the chair and I will hand you the bass guitar”. He showed me how to hold the bass by using the strap, how my hands should be placed on the guitar. Every inch and step was a challenge for my little fingers, even to the point of learning to play by ear. As weeks pasted, I practiced little by little. Pretty soon I was playing.
I never learned to play reading the music sheets only by ear and visually. But mostly by ear. Willie was his name, who taught me how to begin playing the bass. I’m not sure if he taught me to play the way he wanted me to play. All I knew is that I was happy and nothing else mattered at the moment.
As time went on, I played bass at another church during a revival, even as a beginner musician in Christ, I received constructive criticism from a member of the church, preferably, the minister. He said, “my playing sounded like the sheep’s (Ram) bells ringing while herding sheep”. I wasn’t sure how to take that.
Some players probably would have accepted the comment the wrong way, but I decided to take it differently. I told my dad, “I’m going to keep playing and show him some day”. For me the comment made was more motivating than anything else.
Funny huh! How a comment can motivate you into to doing something good and get better at it. If you ever herd the sheep on the rez, you would know what I am talking about. When I was little, about the age 9 to 12 years old, I use to stay with my grandparents. During that time, my Masani (grandma) would herd the sheep down to the river, which is about 20 miles round trip on horseback. Grandma and I would look after the sheep for the day and enjoy each other’s company.
While we sat under a tree to rest a little and Masani fixing our lunch to eat. I would hear the bells a few of the sheep and goats had on about their necks. Each bell has a unique ring to it, none of which sounds the same. I thought of my playing in that way. I am one of the unique bells ringing among the Christians/ Musicians alike. I thank God for the comment becuase it lit a fire with inside me like non-other.
To this day, that fire still burns. As I continued playing in Christ, I learned more about being a musician in Christ. I learned that its not all about playing alone, its about playing as a servant for Christ our lord. I had to learn first to become a servant.
What is a servant
For me, learning to be a servant wasn’t necessarily difficult but challenging. To be a servant you would have to be selfless. And being selfless wasn’t exactly my cup of tea. Don’t get me wrong, I love to help people but at my convenience. Being a servant is moving when God tells you to move and speaking when God tells you to speak. I sometimes, unintentionally let myself get in the way of God. I don’t mean to but it happens, sometimes I get on my own case, by talking to myself. Funny!! But it’s true.
God teaches us to have love in our hearts. As a servant, we worship Christ and we carry out all that he wants us to do. God says, “when you have love in your heart and do his work, you will be rewarded”.
As a musician, play to your hearts content but when you do, play it in Christ. In church, play but also sit and be taught the word of God. The reason for this is because there are too many new and upcoming musicians who want to play in church but do not stay in to hear God’s word. They immediately exit the church when its time for the word to be brought forth.
In doing this, you are missing out on the most important ingredient to help enhance your music. You see, in order to get the people ready to receive God’s word, you would need God’s word inside of you. God will move upon his people when you do your part, in receiving his word, to. This also goes for the song leaders of the church.
“Be sure your heart and mind are in the right place with God” says, Pastor Rondale Anderson of Latter Rain Full Gospel Church.