When I started playing for hospice residents at the senior care center, I felt a little insecure. I wasn’t sure whether they would enjoy or benefit from my playing. In my musical career I have toured the Midwest and eastern Canada. Then, I had a 24 track recording studio which I produced and recorded various genres of music with artists from all over the country. Becoming a music entertainer involves a lot of effort and can tax your soul.
Just because you are an artist does not mean you are an extrovert. In any Christian outreach program it takes an act of faith. Dip your toe in the water. God wants us to serve others. Many artists’ need an overbearing ego to get past the stagefright. Yes, I have been criticized and rejected as an artist, and it hurts. You feel that the risks and rewards are not really worth it.
The "Parable of the Talents", in Matthew 25:14–30 tells of a master who was leaving his house to travel, and, before leaving, entrusted his property to his servants. ... The property entrusted to the three servants was worth 8 talents, where a talent was a significant amount of money.”
Here’s a different perspective on this parable, because using money as an example is not clear cut. The original versions of the bible use “talents” and newer bible versions use “silver” or “bags of gold” as what talents are referred to as. What if the “talents” simply means having skills. You and I were created by God to serve him and serve others. Using the musical “talents” we were given is how we can best serve. I am not an investment banker and could not do anything with 5 or 10 bags of gold. I do know how to play guitar and can sing on pitch most of the time. The servant who did not use his one and only talent was scorned and rejected.
When I went to help my wife and our mega church at MOPS (mothers of preschoolers) because they did not have enough volunteers I thought, “Ok, I can be a fish out of water.” There were perhaps 100 children in 8 or so classrooms, some crying, kicking, and screaming, and missing their mums. After a half hour or so I thought, “would playing a guitar calm down these unsettled toddlers?”. I decided to go to the car, get the gitfiddle and hopefully sneak back in. I still feel a little strange carrying around a guitar. I think from my past, where there was a kid in school who took his guitar with him everywhere and a lot of the kids made fun of him, so it still makes me feel a little uncomfortable. Yet, in this guitar case was one of the “bags of gold” that the master had entrusted me with. In about ten minutes most of the children calmed down. I started out playing secular songs and mostly instrumental tunes. In subsequent meetings with the children I learned that singing contemporary christian songs had more success. Go figure being in God’s house and all….
Does it take courage to go sing amongst strangers? Sure, but everyone you know was a stranger first. I know for a fact that the Holy Spirit was with us and helping me play. Playing for a thousand people would not compare to the peaceful feeling I had. There is no longer any fear, especially when God has your back. “Let Jesus take the wheel” and let him pluck some strings. Talent is no longer the point. The use of those talents and skills gives you experiences that grow your heart and have a positive impact on others. Make God smile and play him and others some tunes.
Psalm 150:4 - "Praise him with the timbrel and dance; praise him with stringed instruments and organs."