Friday, March 7, 2014

Listening, But You Ain't Hearing...

I remember countless nights, in my youth,  laying on the floor in my bedroom with headphones and listening to music. Often times, I would listen to the same song over and over again, not only memorizing words but, memorizing guitar solos, drum fills, harmonies, etc.. Obviously, the lyrics have a story. However, with the headphones on and being able to hear the emotion of the individual and the chemistry between multiple players striving for the same thing took it to another level. I was mind blown by how David Gilmour of Pink Floyd could hang on one note and make you cry or the way Steve “Machine Gun” Smith of Journey could play something on drums that sounded so simple to the untrained ear but, to the musically educated, it was so much more. These are a couple of guys who set the bar high in the music industry. Because of what they did and how they did it, many have “stolen” or borrowed their licks and applied it to what they do. A friend of mine used to valet park for private events in the Nashville area. One night he was working a party for none other than Vince Gill. He wound up shaking the hand of Vince and told him “Man, I’ve stolen every one of your licks!” Vince’s response? “Cool! I stole them from someone else!” It’s always humbling to pay an accolade to someone only to have them redirect the praise to someone else. They say that imitation is the highest form of flattery.

Towards the end of Matthew 4, scripture says that there was a multitude of people who were brought to Jesus to be healed or “entertained”. Jesus withdrew to the mountain top where his disciples came to him as He began the “Sermon On The Mount”. Notice the word “disciple”. “A follower or student of a teacher or leader.” See, these guys weren’t just there to see what Jesus could do for them. They were so impressed by the person of Jesus and convicted by His truth that they were compelled to follow, to imitate.

The converts in the book of Acts were called Christians because they looked, spoke and acted like Christ. Another example is the crippled beggar in Acts 3 that was healed and the people who knew him recognized him as “the guy who USED TO sit… to beg”. His life was changed because of the actions of another who happened to be changed by the actions of another who was changed by the Master. Disciples making disciples. When we encounter the excellence of love (1 Cor 13), we begin to understand that there’s a higher standard and we have to have it. When we don’t get it, we’re incomplete. So, with that in mind, there’s a shift in our lifestyle that causes us to be more intentional about being COMPLETE. Mediocrity is no longer an option. Jesus said that He didn’t come to abolish the law but to fulfill it. (Matt 5:17) It’s ironic that the entire law is fulfilled in one command. “Love thy neighbor as yourself.”(Gal 5:14)

When we draw near to Jesus and we intently hang on every word and the Word becomes music to our ears, the “business” fades away and what’s left is something beautiful. Something pure. It becomes something we won’t trade for less and there is nothing better.

Suddenly, I’m reminded of a couple of wiry haired guys screaming “We’re not worthy!” when invited to hang out with Alice Cooper. In our case, we’re invite into a relationship with the King of Kings and, though we’re not worthy, he promises to make us holy. It’s amazing what you hear when you listen closely.