“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”
I was looking up the definition of the word “excellence,” not because I don’t know what it means, but because I think we, too many times, misuse this word. The word is defined as “the quality of being outstanding or extremely good.” That is simple and easy to remember. Yes, we know what the word means but too often overuse it. Or, we pervert what the word is talking about in our worship.
One thing I try to communicate within the worship team is that we should do things with excellence. As priests, we have a huge responsibility and should honor that. We should honor God by doing everything the very best we can. Now, there are things to consider within this. Yes, we need to play and sound good. We want our music to be structured and organized, but I believe that this comes second to the posture of our hearts.
Read Matthew 12:41-44. It talks about many rich people putting in large sums of money. This didn’t impress Jesus because they were probably just giving what was comfy to their pockets. Within our worship, I don’t think God is MORE impressed with prettier music. I don’t think that Elevation Worship glorifies God MORE than Canvas Worship just because they are doing it professionally. The pretty music sells more albums. The pretty music attracts people, but it doesn’t necessarily attract God as much as the posture of our hearts. I do believe we have a lot of talent within Canvas Worship, and I appreciate and love that. But, more than that is the posture of the hearts of those leading each Sunday. Yes, we desire to sound good. If we stood up there sounding like junk, then it could be a distraction to everyone there. With the live stream, we know that there are more people actually watching and listening, so yes, we want to sound good. But, that is secondary to the posture of our hearts.
What do I mean by the posture of our hearts? What was the posture of the “poor lady’s” heart? She gave all she had. She gave to the point of trusting God with her life. To her, giving was an act of worship and submission. To the rich people it was just something they were doing. Too often, worship teams are more interested in the sound they make for others and less interested in the posture of their hearts towards the King of kings. I am protective in what we do so that we never do that. Yes, I want to sound good. I do. I want to play and sing with excellence, but before that, I want my heart to be submitted completely to HIM.
So, what is excellence? It’s giving your WHOLE heart and not just the parts you want to. Even if it is very uncomfortable. Even if it makes you UNHAPPY. Because, when we empty it all for HIM, it produces a joy that is unmatched. Listen, joy and happiness are not the same. You can be unhappy but joyful at the same time. I have had people ask me, “Jerod, how are you always happy?” My answer? “I am not always happy. It isn’t happiness you see but the joy of the Lord.” So, yes, submitting it all to HIM may produce some UNHAPPY feelings here and there, but man, oh man, does it glorify God and produce a joy that is far better than this fleeting emotion called happiness.
I’ll be honest; there are parts of my heart not fully submitted to God right now. I know God is dealing with me on it, and I am fighting Him on some things. But, I know I will lose the fight. God will win, and am happy about that. You are, most likely, holding onto things that you don’t want to surrender to Him. An emotion? An action that takes too much of your time? Things you spend money on? Relationships? I don’t know what it looks like. But, giving God excellence is giving God your best. That doesn’t mean you have to wear a suit to church, hahaha. But, it does mean you submit it all to Him. It means giving your heart and soul as a living sacrifice day-in and day-out. Yes, do every action you do the BEST you can. If it’s playing the guitar, then play the best and most beautiful chords you can. If it’s cleaning the Church, then make it look and smell like royalty. If it’s teaching a kids class then pour into the next generation Church with all of your heart. If it’s serving on the prayer team, then intercede and pray with, for, and into others with all your heart with authority. If it’s being an encourager, then edify the body of Christ with power and authority. You get my point. Do it the best you can, but be very aware of the posture of your heart. Don’t seek praise and approval from man. Do all you do in order to glorify the Creator.
Our vision statement, speaking of Canvas Worship, is “to create an atmosphere where anyone can encounter the presence of God.” I want to sound good doing it for sure. That is a big part of creating an atmosphere. But, above that is the posture of our hearts. FIRST and foremost, we worship God. Everything else just falls secondary.
So, is the posture of your heart one of complete surrender? Are you on your face all day everyday before the Lord? Are you giving your heart and soul as a living sacrifice to Him? If not, it’s time. Let’s do all of this with excellence for our King.