March 11, 2009

Don't let me be an embarrassment

Almost thirty years ago I was studying to be a performing musician. I wanted primarily to perform in church and to lead choirs, orchestras and smaller ensembles. But I had a problem with stage fright. Those of you who have heard me sing may understand why it might frighten me. It probably caused some fright for those listening as well.

But I digress.

Soon after I got married we were attending a small Southern Baptist church in Northern Virginia. I had been asked to sing special music and had carefully chosen a song that I thought held a particularly appropriate message for the congregation of that church. I had met with the pastor and had tried to find a song that fit well with what he was teaching at the time.

I don't remember what song I was singing that day or what the pastor was preaching on. But I do remember the fact that I really wanted the congregation to hear the words. I knew that my stage fright had at times caused such a problem that the audience was not likely to hear the message of what I was singing. So before I sang that day, I prayed that God would communicate his message to the people through my song. I told God that it didn't matter if I fell flat on my face musically or if I was embarrassed, but that my only desire was for Christ to be magnified and for the congregation to be edified.

As I strode to the platform to sing, I sensed a tremendous calm. I sang that song and things went well. It was the first time in my life that I had ever felt the complete and total lack of stage fright.

I'm sure many folks could produce theories involving the psychology of why I lost my stage fright in that instance. But I think that the truth of the matter is that I had finally placed my focus where it needed to be—not on myself, but on Christ.

Psalm 69:6
Let not those who hope in you be put to shame through me,
O Lord God of hosts;
let not those who seek you be brought to dishonor through me,
O God of Israel.

In our recent discussions about end time and fear, this topic came up and it reminded me of that special music performance 20 or so years ago. Fear can be debilitating and we should not succumb to it. As I read Psalm 69 first thing this morning, the sixth verse just jumped out at me and reminded me of that event two decades ago. May I not be an embarrassment to Christians. May I not bring dishonor to the name of Christ. In my weakness, frailty, and fear, it would seem easy for me to do such a thing. But "his strength is made perfect in weakness." God's power is seen when his weak and frail vessels show no fear in the face of fearful events.

My prayer as we approach what appears to be scary times, is that God will work through me, in spite of my tendency to fear and in spite of my weakness, and will draw others to himself as I share the gospel with them. The days are short. There is not much time left. It is time for us to be about the business of Christ. May my fear not get in the way of that business and block or obfuscate the message. May I not be an embarrassment.


  1. A great reminder, Rich. Thanks for sharing this!!

  2. You just made me think about how often we get our priorities wrong. We are so concerned with not embarassing ourselves, yet we forget we should not be an embarassment.

    Regarding fear... I think parents of dependent children view things differently, with good reasons.
    I don't fear for myself so much, but I do fear for my children because I want to protect them and don't want them to be harmed in any way.


No personal attacks. No profanity.

Please keep your comments in good taste. Leave a name so we know who you are. Your comments are welcome, but anonymous flames and sacrilege will be deleted.