I just received an email from our choir director asking if we were going to be taking the summer off. I was tempted to be irritated. Thoughts of “They’re only on every other week…” and “Can’t they just schedule around their commitment?” were silenced as I read the next sentence:

“Choir members are asking so they can schedule their vacations…”

For some reason, the Holy Spirit kept me from jumping to my normal critical mode and helped me let the full meaning of the sentence sink in. Church members were planning their lives around their commitment to Christian service. That may sound like a no-brainer to many, but in my experience as a worship leader, musician, and pastor I have all too often seen the opposite: Christians planning their service to Christ and others around their own lives.

Don’t get me wrong. I sometimes hit “decline” on the planningcenteronline.com email that comes to my inbox. There are times I cannot take on another thing without risking my family’s time, my health, or stealing from other ministry commitments I maintain. There are times I say no. But what blessed me in the choir members’ request is that they were looking at what was happening in the Kingdom and planning their lives around that.

I have been given many reasons for not making a choir or worship band rehearsal. “Monty Python Marathon Night,” is a favorite, along with “There is this sale at __________ and it’s only tonight!”

Wednesday night super sales?!? Really?!? When it comes to being excused from practice or service, colds/flu (please DONT come), extra work, family needs, leading someone to Christ, even just needing a break — all will work for me if it’s not an every week occurrence. Perhaps even more annoying than the lame excuses is the CRS: complete radio silence. And I have been guilty of them all (except Monty Python and Super Sales Night).

What I was left thinking about was “WHY?” Why do some serve and serve with joy and carefully arrange their schedules around their service while others seem to see every opportunity to serve as a burden to their schedule? They do so not because they are “part of the choir” or a “band member.” Rather, it is because they see their service as a part of something much larger than themselves. As a worship pastor, I need to help create this type of vision. I am, after all, a worship LEADER, not (just) a volunteer coordinator.

But I was encouraged by that one sentence in this morning’s email. There are people who are planning their lives around their service to Christ and the Kingdom of God.

I want to be more like them.