by Chris Polanco, 12/14/09
I had spoken in a church that has two morning services, and I went into that little room off the sanctuary where you meet to pray with the church leaders. But the people who were there when I went in weren't praying, they were playing - their trombones, that is. Actually, they were warming up to play in the brass section of the church's worship band. Now, there were some very interesting sounds coming from that room, in fact. I was almost afraid to go in, but I did. And I got involved in a conversation with the men behind the music. One of them had just made a minor goof in what he was practicing. Of course, how would I know - Mr. Music Dork? But that led to George telling me why he would much rather play with a band than play a solo. He said, "You know, it's so much easier when the band is there to support you." When I asked him what he meant by "support you," he said, "Well, the rest of the band sort of carries you along, and they cover up your mistakes!"
Take a look at Acts 2:14 . It's in the middle of one of the most powerful sermons ever preached. It's on the day the Holy Spirit came just as Jesus had predicted to indwell and to empower His followers. It's about two months after Jesus' return to heaven and Peter is standing right in the middle of the crowds in downtown Jerusalem. The city is still highly charged with hostility toward Jesus and toward His followers. Now remember the preacher here is Peter. You remember him, the same man who wimped out on Jesus only a few weeks earlier. He denied Jesus even in front of a little girl. Now, here's what is says, "Then Peter stood up with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd."
Well Peter went on to tell some of the very people who had crucified Jesus that they needed Him as their Savior! And 3,000 people came to Christ that day! What happened to Peter? He suddenly changed from a chicken into a tiger! Several answers - he sincerely repented of his failures - he now had the inner power of the Holy Spirit. But there was something else that gave him courage and confidence - he wasn't playing a solo. The band was there to support him! It says he "stood up with the eleven." We all need that kind of support. Are you consistently giving that kind of support to the people close to you? Are you playing like a team member or a solo performer? Are you doing all you can to create a climate of playing together instead of everyone for himself?
God provides a beautiful score for our spiritual band to follow in Hebrews 10:24-25. It's a standard to measure what you're doing with your family, the folks you work with, and the people you minister with. It says, "Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds."
Now, is the result of people being around you that they feel more motivated to be loving - to make a difference? It goes on to say, "Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another - and all the more as you see the Day approaching."
Now, maybe you've somehow allowed yourself to slip into a solo mode, where you're cut off from the support of the band and where every mistake is amplified. In Africa, when a lion wants a gazelle for lunch, he seldom attacks when the gazelle is with the herd. He waits for it to wander off by itself. I think Satan operates like that. He wants to get you away from the rest of the band, isolate you so he can attack you and devour you. Don't let your frustrations; don't let your differences get you to pull away from the band. You really need their support.
Where you live, where you work, where you minister, be known as the encourager. Learn to appreciate the unique contribution of the other instruments, even if they sound very different from you. We were never meant to be soloists. We're created to play with the support of the band around us. Together, we can carry each other along and cover each other's mistakes!
Christopher Michael Polanco