(and worship leaders)
When I was in the Army, 35 years ago, my wife and I were privileged to spend time in Germany. My unit was in a Kacerne called Peden Barracks, located just outside Wertheim, Germany. We lived on the “economy”, in other words, not on the military post.
During our 3 years there, we had opportunities to see quite a bit of the country, especially the southern part where castles, mountains, and very pretty scenery were plenteous. There were a couple of castles within 45 minutes of our home, with one right in our town of Wertheim. (the one pictured on the right)
One castle we especially enjoyed touring was Schloss Mespelbrunn (left and above pictures). It isn’t a real large castle, but beautiful none the less. It sits in the middle of a small lake, surrounded by a dense forest. It’s also referred to as “The Hunter’s Castle.” We toured the castle a couple of times, and just visited the castle grounds several others. It was fun following the guide, listening to him explain the history and other details. One thing stood out as we toured the castle; the guide really enjoyed his ministry (serving)!
I read something in the Word recently that made me think of “tours” and “tour guides.”
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion – to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified. They shall build up the ancient ruins; they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations (Isaiah 61:1 – 61:4 ESV)
“…the garment of praise…” A coat, vest, mantle, cloak of praise. Not just any kind of garment, but one that identified the one wearing it as a worshipper. The Anointing of Jesus will give people a new vest to wear! No longer do we have to wear the identifying vest of the fearful, the faint-hearted, or the downtrodden. No, we have new clothes!
Tour guides and Walmart greeters wear vests. You can spot them anywhere. If you are new to a store, or you’ve never visited a certain area (like Schloss Mesplebrunn), guides and greeters are a welcome sight.
Unless what they are doing is “just a job!”
Guides and greeters can become so bored with their job, tired of the routine, and exasperated with people, they lose the joy they once had. No longer does their heart appreciate the ministry of serving; to them their place of “duty” is “just an old building”, not a castle. Or, as a greeter, they look for ways to “just get through the day.”
Worship leaders, the same thing can happen to us.
Instead of anticipating something beautiful and glorious as we lead people into the Throne Room, because the “job” has become just a job, we go through the motions and nothing more. We may be wearing the vest, saying the correct things, pointing people in the right direction, but there’s no anointing; no strength or joy. It’s just an old throne room. Just an old building. And all we want to do is make it through another service.
We might as well turn in our vest!
Unless, like the Psalmist of old, David, we hunger and thirst for God like it’s the most important thing we can do.
If you find yourself bored with God’s Throne Room, take a step or two back. Maybe look at it from a different corner of the room. Get another perspective. Discover mercy and grace afresh. Experience the joy of serving others all over again. Forget the work and entrapment of “having to learn new songs”. “Sing a new song unto The Lord” doesn’t mean you have to stay up on all the latest from Jesus Culture or Hillsong!
How about you and The Lord becoming reacquainted? Spend some time, just the two of you! I have a feeling something new will come out of THAT encounter.
A Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah (maybe he was a tour guide…)
“O God, You are my God; earnestly I seek You; my soul thirsts for You; my flesh faints for You,
as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. So I have looked upon You in the sanctuary,
beholding Your power and glory. Because Your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise You.
So I will bless You as long as I live; in Your name I will lift up my hands.” (Psalm 63:1 – 63:4 ESV)
David also said, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”
(Psalm 51:10 ESV)
“A right spirit…” Renewed joy, renewed purpose, renewed awe of God.
Now that’s the kind of Tour Guide/Greeter we’re called and clothed to be!