The one thing that must be your reason for EVERYTHING

Saturday night, about 9:00, I was relaxing in my apartment all by myself. Watching comedy shows on tv while I fold laundry and enjoy a couple of Sweet Italian Brats. And I was smiling. Not because of the comedy show I was watching though. No, that was making me laugh. This smile was coming from a different place. It was coming from a place of deep satisfaction, contentment, gratitude and just….love, I guess you’d call it.

You see Saturday I installed this cool new feature on my fan page that allows people to actually type up a review and rate it with up to 5 stars. Well, I sent the word out to my mailing list, posted on my fan page, sent a few private messages, etc. Lo and behold, the thing wasn’t working correctly. People were trying to leave their review and were unable to. I was so frustrated! Frustrated and embarrassed, actually.

So now I’ve sent out all these e-mails with a link to something that isn’t working. Not to mention the promoted post I had out there. So after deleting the app and re-installing it, now I have to go “eat crow” and ask these people to do it again. I thought “oh man, they’re going to be angry because I e-mailed them again. Someone’s gonna complain I’m spamming them, or unsubscribe. And in fact one person did (that I know of).

But in the meantime something else was happening. Something wonderful. In the middle of my frustration I started to notice that my fan page was more active and busier than it had ever been in any one day. I was laughing and chatting and talking with people, and everything I was posting was getting comments and likes, and…wow! But that wasn’t the best part. The best part was that people were starting to respond to the call.

They were starting to come to the fan page to leave their reviews. And that was touching enough, but there were a couple of people who were so determined to share their kind words with me that they spent most of their morning trying to get the app to work, going back several times and leaving their comments. Not to be denied the opportunity to share how they had been blessed, several of them simply posted their wonderful comments right on my wall when the app wouldn’t work.

One of my subscribers has told me since day one that he doesn’t do FaceBook, period. Well imagine how I felt when a comment showed up with that little blank head on the left where the picture should be. It was him. He felt the need to share his appreciation so strongly that he actually created an account and liked the page just to do so. Overwhelming.

So in the middle of all this, the guy who created the app responded to my distress call. He came to my page to test it by leaving a review. While he was there though, he couldn’t help notice all the great comments, responses and love going on. “Wow, great page Ron! You have great content and such a responsive audience” I felt like company had just dropped in unexpectedly at my house and found it in absolutely pristine condition, with everyone dressed to the 9’s and on their best behavior.

So I’m reflecting on all of this at the end of the day and just marveling at how absolutely great it all made me feel. And I think I understood at that moment better than any other time in my life why I’ve dedicated my life to music ministry. It certainly hasn’t been because of days like this. No, days like this are rare indeed. This is not the norm, it’s the exception.  So what drives me to do this all the other days when there’s nobody there? It has to be something besides kudos and recognition, because often they are simply not there.  No, the single driving motivation for everything I do in this ministry is passion. Love.

 In music ministry and everything else in life you set out to do, unbridled passion for it must be the reason you do it. Not the promise of money, not the hope of eventual fame or recognition. Not the praise of the masses. It must be love. Passionate love. That kind of love, I discovered at that moment, is the thing that has made me come to that page all of the other days when nobody’s engaging or commenting or liking or anything else.  All of the other 364 days when nobody’s stopping by, or those days when I write a fantastic article that doesn’t raise an eyebrow.

Or when I drive that choir to the point that they almost hate me at rehearsal and then they absolutely sing us through the roof Sunday, but nobody says anything or makes the connection or says thank you. Or all those times I go to that other church and prepare their choir for their musicals and special occasions, driving 30 minutes one way on a Saturday (leaving my visiting kids at my place) 3 weeks in a row, only to hear them give most of the credit to their director and only casually mention that I “stopped by and helped out”.

Passion is the thing that drives you to keep doing it even when there doesn’t seem to be much of a payoff for you. Love is the thing that makes you HAVE to do it even after the 100th conversation with yourself that you should quit. It is the thing that makes you do it even when you feel nobody really appreciates it.

Of course, I knew this stuff.

But Saturday I had an epiphany. You see there I was, basking in the warm glow of this Fan page love fest that was happening. And feeling sooo loved and sooo appreciated. But then I realized that The Music Ministry (something I didn’t want to create) is the perfect merging of everything I love passionately. God gave me a love of music. He gave me a passion for teaching. And he gave me a joy of writing.

So before I ever joined the choir as a kid, I listened to the background singers while everyone else sang along with the leader. Before I ever had a blog I wrote poems at 11 years old. And beautiful essays in  high school, and love letters to my girlfriends, and songs, and articles that I did just for the joy I got from the creative release of writing. And before I was ever a vocal coach I loved teaching people things.  Anything. I taught several members of my family how to drive a stick.  My minister of music and I still laugh today about how I used to teach her songs on the piano before I could play myself.  In fact anything I knew and understood well, I could teach.

I guess what I’m trying to say here is true passion; a deep, undeniable love for what you do, is often found in the things you would do just for the joy you get from it. That thing you’d do if nobody ever noticed or said anything or gave you a pat on the back. That kind of love must be your single and most important reason for doing anything. That alone will sustain you, and drive you, and encourage you, and motivate you to strive for excellence in your service to God. It will stand alone as the single quantifiable, justifiable reason you to keep going when everything says you should quit. And it alone should be the acid test you use to decide if music ministry or any other ministry is really where God wants you.

I can tell you from over 30 years of experience that you had better not join any ministry for the fish and the loaves, or the praise. If you do you will certainly spend most of your time unhappy and unfulfilled. But when you find that thing that you do for no other reason than the joy and deep self-satisfaction you get from it,  it is then God blesses you with a day like I had Saturday. It’s then-when you’ve reached a place where you simply don’t care if anyone notices or pats you on the back or not- that you are reaching your highest level of real ministry, which is service. When you reach that place, even on your worst days you won’t have to ask yourself why you do it. ( Colossians 3:23-25 )

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20 Responses to The one thing that must be your reason for EVERYTHING

  1. alyce says:

    Bro. Ron, you’ve mirrored my thoughts! I’ve come to realize that there are things I’ve been doing that I don’t understand “how” I do them. They’re just in me to do; somehow seeming to be in my DNA. At a specific time and place when I had again almost frustrated, asked that question, and God whispered “It’s Me.” The mix of feelings at that point; Relief, and ‘of course’ as there could be no other answer of logic. I SMH. I should have known, as each incident. though I didn’t, in the moment understand how, produced a Joy! Gave me a greater appreciation for my service “As unto Him!” God is so Awesome! (It was meant for me to see this NOW! Thanks for being you!)

  2. Denise Stubbs says:

    I really do appreciate what you share on this sight and the material that you offer. I purchased the material for ad lib and it was truly a blessing! I always look forward to reading your post and learning something new. Thank you 🙂

  3. George says:

    Thank you for sharing a piece of your life. I’ll tell you this. God has His hand on you and the blessing will keep coming.

  4. Ron Cross says:

    Oh I think many do see Traci. We just may not know. For every one person that takes the time to write me about the vocal training course, or the blogs or the posts on FB, there are hundreds that consume them, benefit from them and enjoy them, who simply don’t write or express it to me. And I’m ok with that, because their recognition isn’t why I do it. It was not always that way though sis. I had to pray about that.

  5. Stephanie D. Etienne says:

    I love your blog!! God bless you and your insight.

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  7. Olga Hermans says:

    At one time or another we have to ignite our life with passion and turn it into something that will work for us. In your case it is the wrting and your teaching; how is it that you found your passion that everybody here in Canada can feel :). It is a great feeling when we know our passion for the purpose that God has created us. Love to read your posts Ron!

  8. Passionate Love… as the motivating factor… yeah!

    I can tell you really love what you do, Ron… it comes through clear as a bell in all that you write. You live from your heart – and it’s such a blessing to know you!

    • Ron Cross says:

      Susan I feel the same about you and everyone else in our little tightly woven group. Thank yo so much for not only always coming here with a kind word, but for pouring out your heart every week. Your articles are like beautiful poetry.

  9. Penny says:

    Love love love this!! Passion is the thing that drives you to keep doing it even when there doesn’t seem to be much of a payoff for you. Love is the thing that makes you HAVE to do it even after the 100th conversation with yourself that you should quit. It is the thing that makes you do it even when you feel nobody really appreciates it.! Thank you for this post!

  10. Jackie Pack says:

    Oh boy, Ron, I needed this today! Thank you so much for responding to your inner passion to write and share. I pray you will continue doing that even when no one lets you know how helpful your words are.
    Thanks again!

    • Ron Cross says:

      I’m glad Jackie. Man, you just never know when you put something out there how it’s going to affect someone. People keep telling me that some of my blogs come to them at the exact time they’re dealing with the issue I wrote about. What a blessing!

      • Kathy says:

        Yes the timing of this couldn’t have been better for me. Tomorrow we have a full rehearsal for 2 hours. The Christmas cantata is Sunday and I am starting to get nervous. Hopefully all of the hours of rehearsals on this will pay off. If not, we sure had fun doing it.

  11. Matthew Reed says:

    What a great post Ron. Thanks for the reminder of the REAL reasons we do what we do…because we love IT, not the appreciation or even the income it brings us. Whatever we do should be for the glory of God right? That’s enough.

  12. Traci says:

    First thought – It’s a shame that people tend to be most unappreciative & blind to the gifts that are placed right in front of them. But on the other hand, without experiencing this, how would we learn what it is to press past it all toward the mark? How many throw in the towel for what seems to be a lack of intrest? How many never figure out that those incidences test their faith, perserverance, conviction & commitment? Or that just as the strength trainer must add heavier & heavier weights to the bar to help his student achieve the result of greater strength, the Father assembles the appropriate weight regimen in proportion to our assigned destiny. How many of us never see that these pressures are swift kick toward broader reaches of that destiny leaving countless others untouched by a gifting that was meant to help them reach their own destinies?
    God knows the right timing to open the floodgates & wash over you with love & encouragement.
    I didn’t intend for this comment to be so long :0) but …there it is… It’s just too bad (for them) that others can’t see what we see.

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