—by Gary Benjamin, CCC Resident Geek
Of the many different tasks I tangle with on staff at CCC, they all seem to have something to do with computers, even back at the sound table. The sound mixing console is pretty much just a big computer itself, which needs to be programmed, reprogrammed, and programmed all over again on a regular basis (like this week). And then it has another computer (a laptop) plugged into it to accomplish other things. But for me it’s fun, and I love my job(s).
I try to hide back in the corner and not be noticed (quoting Frank Morgan in MGM’s The Wizard of Oz: “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.”). And usually that works, unless something goes really wrong. On Sunday mornings, for all of us who work behind the scenes—coming in early and staying late—we want the focus to be on the worship of the God we love and serve, not on us. Sometimes that can be a very difficult thing to accomplish.
Personally, like most people, I like to be noticed, or at least like it when things go right, and my work gets noticed. But I don’t know that that’s what God wants for me. In a recent study I was going through, the first lesson was The Goal of Christian Living, and the question was, “What is the ‘big idea’ of Christianity?” When the Reformers answered that question, they said that the essence of the Christian life is to live coram Deo—“before the face of God.” That is, the core of the Christian life is to live one’s life in the presence of God. What gets to the heart of that for a person like me when viewing all the disparate jobs I do—and wanting to spend way too much time on each one of them—is this piece of advice from John Calvin:
“Let us not cease to do the utmost, that we may incessantly go forward in the way of the Lord; and let us not despair because of the smallness of our accomplishments.”
Yes, let us not despair. How often do I find myself on a Sunday afternoon mulling over the way something sounded on that Sunday morning, or actually listening to different parts of the service (other than the sermon) on a Monday morning, again trying to see (that is, hear) what happened. I do need to do a good job at whichever job I’m doing. It’s important. And I need to “do the utmost.” But once the job is done, no matter what “the smallness of [my] accomplishments” has been, I am not to “despair”/mull over/fret/be discouraged/be despondent/be demoralized.
So, where do I find myself most often? Maybe with these words from the Apostle Paul, from his letter to the Romans, chapter seven:
22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!