Does It Matter?
GospelFlava.com's Gerard Bonner presents “Does It Matter?”, an editorial that looks at the hard reality of Gospel music ministry and its sometimes confusing weave into business practices.
If you haven't figured this out yet, God has a sense of humor.
Occasionally, God uses His sense of humor to teach us the simplest truths. Other times, He will use parables and practical examples to teach us His way and His will.
Whatever His method, there's no question that God has places that He wants to take His people, if we are willing to go.
In order for us to reach God's intended destination for us, we have to begin to really evaluate where we are and what we are doing. We have to begin to put things into perspective relative to God's destiny for us and find out if we're really focusing our energies and efforts in the right places.
As I sit back and watch our generation and society, it’s clear that we've become increasingly focused on materialism and recognition. We all want to look jiggy with the hottest fashions. Even greater than that, we want to make sure that people know our names.
This concept is definitely prevalent in the Gospel music industry. Everyone wants to make sure that they look good and they get recognized. It's almost crazy the levels that we'll go to to ensure that we are noticed. Many solo careers have begun so that the artist can be noticed separately from the group from which they've originated. Lawsuits have started because people didn't get a royalty check from their song. New churches begin because preachers don't get the spotlight they want at their local assembly.
Now don't get me wrong. There is unquestionably a business element to what we do in this industry. Greater than that, there is biblical support for Christian workers getting paid. 1 Corinthians 9:10b says, "Christian workers should be paid by those they serve." (NLT)
Yes, you should get credit for what you do. I agree with that concept. However, we need to be careful to the extent that we go to with this. What is more important getting recognition or fulfiling God's call? You've got to understand that the call is greater than fame or notoriety.
I've heard of artists who refuse to perform unless they've received half or all of their payment prior to the date of the engagement. From a business perspective, this is probably an acceptable practice. However, there will forever be a difference between the secular world and the world of Christendom. The difference is as believers, our business practices are to be governed by the principles of Christ. While the Bible reminds us that a servant is worthy of his hire, the Apostle Paul was not willing to sacrifice the Gospel for monetary gain. There's a unique reason why. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 9:17, "If I were doing this of my own free will, then I would deserve payment. But God has chosen me and given me this sacred trust, and I have no choice." (NLT)
God has called us to be ministers of the Gospel in various arenas. No matter what talent God has given you, He's called you to reach a dying world with your specific gift. You don't have to make your own way with your gift. The Bible tells us that our gifts will make room for us and bring us before great men. Making our name great is not our own responsibility. Our responsibility is to be obedient to God and do what He has said to do. We're responsible for perfecting our gifts and talents and allow God to set the stage for the recipients of your ministry. We have to purify ourselves and really check our motives.
Why are we doing what we do? Are we preaching to get a pat on the back? Do we want a record contract to have our name in lights? Are we part of the media to have an impressive resume? Why are we here?
Believe it or not, some of the most effective and talented ministers of the Gospel are not even in the public eye. Many have been given the gift of song and will never get a record contract. But do you need a record contract to be effective? Have you ever thought about the fact the God may have called you to reach your neighborhood and not the community 500 miles away? How many of us have even concerned ourselves with winning our households but would rather try to get a spot on Soul Train or TRL? Does it even matter if you ever make it to BET or MTV? It would be sad to have lived your life looking for notoriety and totally miss what God has really designed for you to do?
It's time for us to really begin to look within and consult with God to see if we're really handling what He has given us correctly. We should never become so focused on personal gain that we lose our focus on what He's really called us to do. Remember, if God called us to do it, how can I say that I deserve to get paid? The call that God has placed on your life is so great that you can't run from it. It will find you and call you until you answer. If you choose not to answer the call, you'll find life to be unfulfilling and downright miserable.
The wake-up call for us is to do things God's way. It's His talent that He gave to us in the first place. It's His program. We're servants working for Him in His vineyard. Because it's His program, we can't take advantage of it for our own personal gain. It's really time to refocus and consult God to find out if we're really looking at things as He wants us to. It's time to re-evaluate things.
It really doesn't matter if we make the cover of Time, Ebony, or Billboard. It doesn't matter if our names are in the liner notes or the press releases. It doesn't matter if people even know our names. What matters is that we reach those that God has called us to minister to. If we are really in the will of God and fulfilling the call that He's placed on our lives, we'll get paid and taken care of. Why? Because as we put the kingdom of God at the forefront of our lives and seek God's purpose for us, all of the things that we desire will come our way.
So as you get ready for your next concert, sermon, or article and something doesn't go the way you think it should, ask yourself....does it really matter?
June 1, 2003