Have you ever listened to a song or watched a video and felt like you were carried away on a wonderful journey into the presence of God? But then, you listened to someone else’s song and were sorry for your wasted time? I’m not talking about the vocals; neither am I talking about the instrumentals behind the song. I am talking about the presence, the aura around the person singing? Ever wondered what made the difference?
Well, as a singer and songwriter, I have been questioning myself about this. Here my few points.
- The content vs the container
When looking at this question, if we focus our attention on the content, of course both the artist and the minister are using the word of God in their lyrics. They talk about what God has done in their lives. They talk about his love, grace and mercy.
But when it comes to the container, let’s differentiate things here.
My little dictionary tells me that an artist is a person who creates paintings or drawings as a profession or hobby. In our context then, it is a person who creates music as a profession or hobby. Let’s be specific by saying that this person follows rules and stays within the guidelines of artistry. And though his content is derived from the Bible, he has no point applying strictly all that the Bible says but it just serves him as his inspirational basis. He is paid by the people who appreciate his work. His success is strictly dependent on the people’s appreciation of his art. He does everything possible to please the people who decide about his pay.
On another hand, a minister is a head of a government department, a member of the clergy, the superior of some religious orders, a diplomatic agent, representing a state or sovereign in a foreign country. I like this definition.
A minister operates and speaks strictly within the terms and policies of his country. He has but one chief, the man that nominates and revokes him. To him does he give his report. He is the servant of the people but answers only to the head of the state. Because only the later can hire and fire him.
He has to follow strictly the orders coming from above. Not only that, but he does have to understand the constitution, which is the Bible, but whatever he does and says has to align with his state. He has no personal opinion on anything. Everything he says and does affects his state.
If a man carries consecrated meat in the fold of his garment, and it touches bread, stew, wine, oil, any other does that item become holy?’” “No, ”replied the priests. So Haggai asked, “If one who is defiled by contact with a corpse touches any of these, does it become defiled?” “Yes, it becomes defiled,” the priests answered. [Haggai 2:12-13]
This scripture clearly illustrates the difference between the content and the container and how both do affect the service that we render.
While the artist careless about the effect of his lifestyle on the people he serves, the minister is aware about how his reputation can affect the lives of those he is called to serve. He not only cares about the content but also himself as a container, as a vessel.
- Jesus vs God
I have realized that the artist will always adjust his creation to the desires of the people who he serves whilst, the minister has only one desire to work in alignment with the constitution and the current politics of his state.
The world has no problem with the word “God” but it has a great deal with the word “Jesus”. Artists will easily adapt their songs to appeal with the world standard and therefore, an artist would rather sing about “God” or it is “god”, instead of saying Jesus. Hence speaking of the Gospel but stripping it of all its power.
The minister on the other hand understands that he has no opinion of his. Not speaking about Jesus is denying himself of the authority that did set him in position of power. He speaks and swears by no other name but the name of Jesus.
- Mission and purpose
‘Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.’ [Luke 11:23]
What is the purpose behind me and my song? Is it in line with the gospel mission or it is about my showcase? Is it bringing people’s attention on me or on Christ? There is nothing with the fancy cars in the videos and beautiful scenarios. Whatever I put in the video, should not detour the attention of my viewers or my listeners from the main purpose which is that all may come to the knowledge of Christ.
Artists are always working hard so to make the next big piece of art that would make it as a hit on the market place while ministers are concerned about getting the current mind of the of state, work in line and on time with this, knowing that all this has to benefit the people they serve but give all the glory to Jesus, the King of Kings.
What shall we then say about some of the things that are happening in the gospel music around the world, well, without being judgement, I will just say Paul states,
It’s true that some are preaching out of jealousy and rivalry. But others preach about Christ with pure motives. [Philippians 1:15]
And his conclusion is, ‘But that doesn’t matter. Whether their motives are false or genuine, the message about Christ is being preached either way, so I rejoice. And I will continue to rejoice.’ [Philippians 1:18]
After all it is up to the master who says, ‘Let both grow together until the harvest. Then I will tell the harvesters to sort out the weeds, tie them into bundles, and burn them, and to put the wheat in the barn. [Mathew 13:30].
By Prince Kwamiso