in·spired–adjective. Aroused, animated, or imbued with the spirit to do something, by or as if by supernatural or divine influence: an inspired poet.
Have you ever seen it…the moment something ceases to become work and becomes inspired? I think I saw it happen yesterday.
For the last year or so, Eldest has been working hard to learn the guitar. His dream for years has been to be in a worship band, part of the music ministry and outreach at our church. He wants to reach the world through music, and he was willing to work hard to do it!
At first, it was just plain work. Learning scales, learning music theory, learning notes and chords and the circle-of-fifths and memorizing each and every note on each and every string. Weeks of boring and repetitive exercises, memorizing, learning the way music works. There is a lot of work…and not much payoff…in those first months of learning an instrument. He plugged away.
Then came the next step, the learning of chord patterns and strumming and picking and soon the marks and theories all started to come together, and music was made. Before long, I stopped having to tell him to practice as I heard, first thing each morning, music drift down the stairs from his room. It was work, but he had put the time in and now it was also fun…a release for the soul, a celebration along with the toil. It wasn’t long before I had to ask him to please stop practicing and get some daily life accomplished!
This summer, a group of six kids whose ages range from 12 to 16 started to practice together. Eldest packed his too-big guitar up and he and Hubby drove to church each Tuesday evening, and the little band worked hard. Eldest’s bass-playing daddy supervised, they started and stopped, played the same songs over and over and over. They had ups and downs, days when they thought they’d never be able to make it through a song. The band looked like they were working. There was joy, but also sweat, tears and frustration. For a group of kids who hadn’t been together very long, they sounded amazing. But as the date of the service they would first play at approached, the tension built.
Last night, six kids stood up in front of the first Youth Group meeting. They’d worked hard and poured their hearts into it. The sanctuary was pretty full, their peers and parents filled row after row of seats. There was a moment of expectant silence. The drummer hit his sticks together….one, two, three, four….
And it happened. Something amazing, something different. The music sounded good, it sounded great, but that wasn’t what was remarkable. What brought tears to my eyes was that suddenly, after all this time, they were doing something more than just making music. They were worshipping! What had been missing was inspiration, the Spirit moving through them. When the Spirit moves, everything changes! They were alive, they were animated, they were making a joyful noise.
All the knowledge in the world can’t do it. Hours and hours of practice can’t do it. The deepest wisdom among nations can’t do it. The hardest toil of human hands can’t do it. There is nothing in this world that can make music into worship, that can change something and make it take your breath away, like the Spirit moving through you. Of all the things a parent can be proud of, that’s the one I’m most taken by, the thing I hope the most for my kids is that they will be open and willing to let the Spirit move them, change them, to let God lead them where He will.
Keep making music, my son. Never forget Who the music is for, or why you are there. I’m proud of you and your friends, for all your hard work….but mostly for your heart for God.
Psalm 108:1 My heart is steadfast, O God; I will sing and make music with all my soul.