I can’t sing. I can’t even hum a tune. There are times when I’ve tried singing well known songs, and people aren’t even able to recognize them. When I was a kid, I once got a karaoke machine for Christmas(who didn’t?), and I would sing, “I Will Always Love You,” or some Celine Dion power ballad (Remember: “There were nights when the wind was so cold….”) for whoever my parents had over at the house. Often times, they’d say something like, “Don’t quit your day job!” I definitely heard that more than once, and I definitely still do….
I practically lived at my grandmother’s house during the summer along with my cousins, Karleena and Klarissa. When we weren’t sitting on the picnic table having “deep” conversations late into the night or chasing fireflies or one another with milk jugs filled with water, we would have singing contests, much like on the show, Star Search or the more recently popular, American Idol. We’d put on my grandmother’s slips and high heels and prance around the kitchen while singing, “Tomorrow” from Annie. Here and there we’d get creative and sing, “My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music. We’d take turns singing at the top of our lungs, and most of the time, we’d give each other a very generous score.
But no, like I said, I can’t sing.
I’ve always wanted to, though. Even now, a song will come on the radio that I love, and I’ll belt it as loud as I can while I drive down the road. Sometimes, I catch myself in my own little dream world, pretending I’m on stage, wishing I had written that song. Am I the only one?
Though, I’d really love to be able to lead people in song or have jam sessions with my friends, that’s not realistic for someone like me.
I have learned something similar about serving God. God only wants us to serve Him with the gifts He has given us. Since I can’t sing, I can be grateful that He hasn’t asked me to be a worship leader (trust me, you can too!). I think it’s easy to get caught up in wanting to be the person who leads hundreds or thousands to Christ, but what if you’re that person who shows the love of Christ through different avenues? Like writing letters to a friend who needs words of encouragement or baking a cake for a coworker who feels like she’s alone? What if you never set foot on a stage? Ever?
People tend to think that ministry can only be done from a stage when in actuality most ministry is done without any crowd at all. Jesus talked about this “underground” lifestyle in Matthew 6 where he explained that the Father who sees in secret will reward those who don’t receive any honor from people on earth for their good deeds. These are those who provide a meal to someone who is hungry and don’t call their friend immediately to tell the tale. These are those who write a check to someone in need and don’t turn around and make it their status on Facebook. This is the kind of love that models that of our Savior, a love that looks for nothing in return and needs no applause.
I have experienced firsthand this kind of sacrificial love. During my first year of college, my house caught on fire, and my family lost everything. Whenever something like this happens, worrying sets in immediately.
You wonder things like:
“What about my things?”
“Did I lose years of sentimental items?”
“What about pictures?
“What will I wear?”
“Where will I sleep tonight?”
My worrying was quickly diminished by the generosity of my family and friends. People flocked to us with money, clothing, household appliances, and furniture. I even remember having to tell people we had enough towels, that we didn’t need any because we had no room for them in our new place(the down payment for which was also provided to us by a friend). That generosity taught me truly what it means to be the hands and feet of Jesus, and for the first time that I remember, I saw firsthand Acts 4:34 come to life. It says,
“There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.”
As I look back upon this trial that my family faced, I can think of countless other tragedies that people I know have gone through, and I know that it is guaranteed someone I know will go through another tragedy before long. That’s the rhythm of life; there are ups and downs, mountains and valleys, joyous occasions and tragedy, but the question we all have to ask ourselves is this: what can I do to be the hands and feet of Jesus to that person?
People don’t need me to sing for them or preach to them; what they need is my willingness to perform small acts of love in their time of need without any desire for anything in return and without any need for a pat on the back. I can’t sing, but I CAN show love to the hurting people around me. Isn’t that all anyone needs? Isn’t that what it means to really be like Christ?