A friend of mine is an outstanding jazz and blues guitar player. A few weeks back I got an e-mail from him inviting me to come down and hear his first “solo” show at a new club in town. So around dinnertime I headed down to the club to watch Bill play. The show was great and the food was wonderful. The food service was ultra-slow, but this isn’t a restaurant review so I’ll move on. As great as that part of the night was, it was the after concert conversation and observations that remained with me.
Bill sat down at our table and we talked about life. He shared about a mutual friend of ours who is now becoming a follower of Jesus; it seems she had been convicted by being around Bill. She knew about Jesus, but had no relationship with Him. Bill also shared how a few concerts I had helped promote through our church last summer had, in his opinion, helped her make a return to God. The nature of the shows were different– they were concerts in a church by a mix of musicians, who may or may not be followers of Jesus. It was a show open to everyone where they could hear “Christian music”, and not just hear music, but good music at that. Bill shared how giving people a place to play and not expecting them to be “good Christians” had made an impact on more than one of the musicians involved. Seems too simple doesn’t it? Can the kingdom of God come just by giving musicians a place to play?
As the second act kicked in, I finished eating and we moved to the lobby to talk some more. Bill began to share how he had learned early in his Christian walk that God can use you anywhere and that being involved in a ton of things at church didn’t work for him. He shared how he and his family had “kept it simple.” He had seen God work in the lives of the people they had time for because they weren’t in the choir or on five committees, etc. I think this message would have been mostly lost if it wasn’t for the fact that our talk was interrupted frequently by people coming over to talk to Bill. He literally knew everyone in the room! I, on the other hand, really only knew the people from my church. That’s when it hit me – Bill was living like Jesus.
Bill had moved his life into a different time signature. He was moving to a different beat – maybe a jazz beat. His tempo had space for people and relationships. My tempo, more like techno beats, barely left me time to sleep. What was the difference? Bill wasn’t involved in five things at church like I was. He had the time to have kingdom building relationships out in the world. I barely had enough time to get the stuff I needed for the Sunday morning worship service done. Maybe following Jesus has little to do with how much one serves at church? Maybe following Jesus is about having time for people?
Jesus said, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” I honestly could not say that as I reflected on my life. The church felt like a burden. It was heavy. Worst of all it was keeping me from the types of relationships I saw Bill having, as well as the relationships I saw Jesus have during His ministry on earth. Changes needed to be made.
This week I decided to quit doing too much stuff at church in order to follow Jesus better. I want to live in a different time signature. It’s strange what a trip to the jazz club can teach you.
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