The Maestro studies his music and perfects his technique. He selects music that will be challenging and meaningful to accomplish. He knows every nuance of the musical score and gives great thought to the rehearsal approaches and conducting cues he will give to exact the rendering of the music he conducts. He finds his greatest pleasure in the execution of a finely prepared piece of music.
And when it’s over, he gladly takes a bow – after all, he worked for it.
The Shepherd studies his flock and knows them all by name. As he selects his music, he is concerned about how each song will connect with the people he loves and leads. He is diligent in his preparation because he knows that the proclamation of the Gospel in song has eternal significance. He would not want anything to distract from the presentation of God’s Word to his hungry flock.
And when it’s over, he will never take credit for what is done – because he knows that only the power of the Holy Spirit can infuse music with the ability to change lives.
So, which are you?
I’m afraid I’ve been both at different times in my life. On my worst days, music was more about showcasing what I could do than it was proclaiming truth. And on my best days, I had a keen sense the people I was leading were infinitely more important than the music I was writing or leading.
Music is a deceptive master. There can be a great sense of fulfillment in the preparation and presentation of music, even in a ministry setting. There have been days when I wanted to be the Maestro. But, I want something deeper than that. Maybe you do too.
The Maestro conducts – the Shepherd leads.
The Maestro performs – the Shepherd engages.
The Maestro achieves the temporary excitement of accomplishment – the Shepherd experiences the eternal life-change of the sheep.
Today, I choose to put down the Maestro’s baton and pick up the Shepherd’s staff. How about you?
Mike Harland is the Director of LifeWay Worship. When he’s not directing 30+ employees, you’ll find him leading worship at various churches around the country, writing/arranging worship songs and/or, writing his next book. In his spare time, he loves playing basketball and spending time with his family. Mike can be found on Twitter @MikeHarlandLW and on facebook.com/Mike.Harland.37.