by Melissa Saulnier, Anchorage, Alaska
Consider others better than yourselves. (Philippians 2:3)
When I was younger, I was so simple-minded that I actually thought if I asked God to allow me to write and record music, somehow it would happen overnight without me doing much of anything! Since those days of youth, I have learned that God is far more interested in helping us to mature in Him. He loves bringing us into a more excellent point of view -- a view from His perspective.
As a young musician, I pursued the elusive recording contract. In the end, though, I found so much more. However, that didn't happen until I truly gave the process over to God.
I clearly remember the day I knew I had to put my own dream on the back burner. The Lord offered me a choice: pursue my dream or follow what He was asking me to do. God was prodding my heart to help others achieve their dream first... to consider others as better than myself. I did not understand, but I did what He asked without complaining. Honestly, though, I did it because I wanted the best for me. Actually, looking back, it was a selfish motivation that drove me. I obeyed God so that He would give me my desires. What I did not realize at the time is that my desires began to change. I slowly became more interested in other people and their gifts and talents. I actually began to admire the gifts and talents I saw in those around me. Soon I was passionate about those gifts and talents. I truly wanted to see the gifts and talents of others being fully utilized in God's kingdom.
A brand new dream was born in my heart. What if all of us came together as a support network to help each other reach the dreams and goals that God had placed inside of us? This thought was actually dropped into my mind when I saw the movie "A Beautiful Mind" starring Russell Crowe. It is the true story of John Forbes Nash, Jr., who saw the world in a way no one could have imagined. John F. Nash introduced the distinction between cooperative and non-cooperative games. In terms we can understand, this means the best outcome for all is achieved when we work together with common goals.
What if we worked together to make God's glory known in our sphere of influence? If all of us were to put our gifts and talents together for the common goal of bringing attention to Christ, we would see the fruit of our endeavors springing up everywhere. But we must lay down the desire to do this on our own. Our individual dreams are not as important as God's all-encompassing plan. The real vision is that we -- together -- come to a higher level and look at things from God's perspective.
Here's the rub, though. In general, we artists are a fiercely independent lot, aren't we? We like our space. We're comfortable being "Lone Rangers." So, is it possible that we artists could set aside our own agenda to see the Lord magnified in and through our church? Is it possible for us to see the gifts in one another and encourage and nurture those gifts into full bloom? Could we willingly give up the spotlight so that God Himself shines more brightly through all of us together? Will we truly consider others as more important than ourselves?
May the Lord grant us the grace to make that vision a reality.
God, bring us together with the common purpose of pointing to Your magnificent nature. Let us esteem each other better than ourselves because You value people and therefore we should also value people. Forgive us for being "Lone Rangers" and inspire us to work together as co-laborers. In doing so, we believe the best outcome possible will be achieved in furthering Christ's Kingdom here on earth. Amen.
1. What would it mean for you personally to "set aside our own agenda to see the Lord magnified in and through our church"?
2. What could it mean, in the context of your church's worship ministry, to consider others as more important than ourselves?
3. Take time to recognize the gifts in one another. How can you encourage and nurture those gifts into full bloom?