by Kate Simmonds
A worship team of any worth lays its foundations in values such as unity, excellence, servanthood, and meeting with God! We have learned that these things grow out of relationship - with God and with each other. We all want to use our giftings to serve God and the church. However, sometimes opportunities don't present themselves as we might have hoped. We can start looking at other people and think, 'I could do that. Why do they get to do that and not me?' We're really saying, 'I think I should be doing that instead of them - what about me??'
What's gone wrong?
When this happens, we are forgetting that God has got a plan for each person's life, including works that only they can do (Ephesians 2:10). We are coveting the plan for someone else's life, instead of seeking God for our own. We are implying that God has messed up in some way or we feel wronged and rejected by those in authority. It's heavy duty stuff and it is very painful but we must deal with it.
These feelings are probably born of frustration and a sense that there is nothing but closed doors around you. 'Hope deferred makes the heart sick' (Proverbs 13:12). This would be less likely to occur in an environment where you feel in the heart of a team, where you know you have a role and are working with others toward common goals. But it still could happen even then because that is the nature of sin, especially pride and jealousy. And we need to remember that sometimes God closes doors because He wants us to know what's in our own hearts.
When we become so focused on ourselves and 'our ministry', we're losing the plot! We are forgetting that first and foremost we are here to make God's name known (not ours), to bring Him glory and to see His kingdom built and flourishing in the earth. We're also losing sight of the fact that "just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others" (Romans 12:4). We are to be a team, and although we have different things to do, no one member of the team is more important.
How do we handle it?
- be ruthless, repent every time you think like this, and fight to keep your heart pure. "If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from His love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves" (Phillipians 2:1-3).
- keep your heart right with God - express faith, read the Bible aloud and pray it back to God. 'Lean not on your own understanding' but trust God for your future (Proverbs 3:5-6). Put team and unity first - otherwise there's no blessing. "How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity! For there the Lord bestows His blessing" (Psalm 133:1,3).
- keep your heart right with other people - bless what God is doing in other people, pray for them and for God to use them, be a friend and someone who loves and encourages others. Be like David, don't 'touch the Lord's anointed' (1 Samuel 24:5-6). Our unity has a powerful message: Jesus' prayer for all believers in John 17:23: "May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that You sent me and have loved them even as You have loved me."
- answer these questions: is God sovereign? Is God in control? Does God hold your life in His hands? Are God's ways perfect? Does He work all things for good? Does God have a different perspective on this situation than you? Do you want all that God's prepared just for you? Is God trustworthy? Is God faithful? The answer to all these questions is 'Yes!' Are we going to praise Him for all of that? Yes!! The 'lamenting' psalms always reach a 'yet will I praise Him' conclusion - so can we. Cherish what Hillsong worship leader Darlene Zschech calls 'the silent years', knowing that God is working on your heart and character in preparation for all that He has for you.
- finally, be a worshipper, be satisfied in God. "I have seen You in the sanctuary and beheld Your power and Your glory. Because Your love is better than life, my lips will glorify You. I will praise You as long as I live, and in Your name I will lift up my hands. My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise You. On my bed I remember You; I think of You through the watches of the night. Because You are my help, I sing in the shadow of Your wings. My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me" (Psalm 63: 2-8). Remember: "Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do - do it all for the glory of God" (1 Corinthians 10:31).
Copyright Kate Simmonds 2002