Monday, November 21, 2011

Lessons I Learned This Week

Two lessons learned a couple of weeks ago, actually.  But I wrote this the Wednesday following the lessons learned.

I learned two lessons this week that I want to share with you.  The first one lifted my heart … the second made me repent.

I received a phone call Monday afternoon after staff meeting that appeared to me to be one of my least favorite kinds of calls:  a “cold call” either from a sales rep or from a booking agent for a Southern Gospel group.  It was a “cold call”, but far from the typical one.  It was not a booking agent or a sales rep for a publisher or media producer; it was a composer/arranger whose music I have known for some 20 years or more.  While we were on the phone I took a “Golden Rule” opportunity, which I paraphrase this way: do for others what you would like for others to do for you.

A couple of this gentleman's anthems have been among my personal favorites for the FBC Sanctuary Choir for years.  I would share the titles with you in this post, but out of respect for his privacy I want to preserve his anonymity ... you'll see why soon.. As we talked, I took the opportunity to thank him for his work and went so far as to tell him that in my mind, were I to choose a “signature piece” for this choir, it would be this one particular title.  He warned me before it happened, but my simple words of appreciation moved him to tears, affecting him more deeply than just revealing emotion in the tone of his voice.  On the contrary, he sobbed deeply and unashamedly.  Life has him at a very tender spot right now with some health issues in his family too private to share openly; but he shared them with me asking for prayer.  Something I must have said gave him permission to be vulnerable and to trust me with something very sacred.  Lesson: ALWAYS take the opportunity to say thank you … and go into specific detail when you do.  The person you say it to may need that affirmation more than you can imagine.

The second lesson I learned yesterday (actually, November 8th).  The Laurens Baptist Association has a women’s dinner every Fall.  This year it was in our turn to host, and they asked First Light to share. Great! More time away from family.  Wanting everything to be right for the event, I spent a good deal of time yesterday afternoon getting the sound system untangled and re-routed for optimal functionality (pulled a muscle in my back in the process).  Worried over stuff here, I forgot to fill up the lovely wife's car before her trip to Greenwood.  Frustrated and irritated, I made the comment to a trusted friend that I hoped that we didn’t have to host this thing again for a good long while.

During the event, as Edna Ellison spoke and asked us to consider whether we were living our lives as acts of worship, the Holy Spirit convicted me and I had to repent.  My attitude toward the event was bad and worse.  On the surface I was all smiles and politeness.  Underneath I was bitter and resentful.  Several times during her talk, Ellison asked, "Are you worshiping while I'm talking?"  Or, "Are you still worshiping or has your mind drifted to something else?"  Lesson:  Romans 12:1 service to others is only worship if you give it freely without bitterness.

That’s enough to think about for now. The peace of Christ to you.


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