When serving in any church ministry, one can feel the pressure, especially when you’re on the Praise and Worship Team. We are out front every Sunday service: all eyes are on you. Everyone is expecting something good. So of course we want to do our best and stay on our “A” game. But how is such a thing measured?
As the saying goes, we can be our own worst critic. In my opinion, this results in some harsh and potentially unreasonable expectations. A by-product of this is a little too much self-focus, and a lot less God focus. John 3:30 tells us that we must decrease so that God can increase. God gives us gifts and talents to use in His service; and practice and preparation are necessary ingredients that WE provide. But there is one crucial ingredient that God must provide.
Once when I was feeling that anxious pressure in ministry, God interrupted my thoughts and asked me this question, “When you cook, do you cook all of the same meals? No, I don’t, I thought. Then He asked, “And when you cook meals, do they all taste the same?” No, they don’t. Then God made a puzzling statement to me, “Yet you continue to use the same pots, pans & baking dishes over and over and over.”
I couldn’t wait to see where God was going with this. He began to reveal that I am the pot, pan or baking dish. I am a vessel that He is using. But there is criteria for using the same pots, pans & dishes. They must be available, clean and in good repair. I thought of the thousands of meals I’ve prepared over the years using the same pots, pans and baking dishes. A variety of flavors, tastes and textures: all from the same vessels. The dish does not determine the quality of the meal that it holds, but the meal cannot be created without the dish.
Philippians 2:13 (NIV) reminds us that it is GOD that is working IN us to fulfill His purpose. Let that sink in: God is working in us, the vessel. We cannot produce one good or lasting thing in ministry without God working in us.
I’m pretty sure we’ve all heard people that possess amazing musical and vocal abilities. But it doesn’t amount to much without God’s anointing. Your talents only impact the Kingdom when they’ve been endorsed by the anointing of God.
Early one autumn morning, I had just dropped my daughter off at daycare, and was rushing to get to work when something caught my attention. I saw two virtually identical trees: both had brilliant and vibrant colors to their changing and colorful leaves. Yet only one stood out above the rest: it was the tree that glowed from the illumination of the sun. “That’s what anointing looks like,” God instructed me. Both trees were of equal stature and beauty, but only one was illuminated by the sun. Anointing is being illuminated by the Son of God. God’s anointing can magnify, multiply and amplify our gifts and talents.
HE will produce something great within every available and willing vessel. Just like the baking dishes, He will use us time and time again with impactful results, as long as we have one necessary ingredient: His anointing. He will produce a variety of unexpectedly great things in us and through us.
Remember what the apostle Paul once said, “Not I, but Christ” (Galatians 3:20). Let God move our focus away from ourselves, and onto the master Chef. And like the tree glowing in the fullness of the sun, let’s remain in the Presence of the Holy One, letting His light shine on everything we do.
I’m Tracey Ray, a singer, musician and songwriter. I am a lead vocalist for a worship team in North Carolina. It is my desire to encourage and uplift God’s people through the gifts and talents He has entrusted to me.