I work in the performing arts department of a junior college. We have several adjuncts who give lessons to students from elementary age to adult. This year, we have a percussion instructor. That means drum lessons. Right down the hallway from my office. When an eight-year-old boy takes drum lessons, it sounds just like you think it would … only more repetitive.
And eight-year-old boys generally do not realize that, while their drumming sounds pretty awesome to them, it’s a little … distracting to the people with offices in that hallway. (Before we go much further, let me clarify a couple of things. I love eight-year-old boys. And lessons for the high school and college drummers are not much different.)
Here’s the lesson for us, though. If we as believers carry out the gospel of Jesus Christ without love for those we engage, it’s not much better than drum lessons.
If our hearts are full of judgment or condemnation – drum lessons.
If we are concerned with fulfilling an obligation or racking up numbers – drum lessons.
If we are interested in proving we’re right and someone else is wrong – drum lessons.
And it doesn’t matter how skillfully we present things, how well our points are made, how solid our theology is, or how fluid our transitions are. If we don’t love people, as they are, we present them with noise– annoying, repetitive noise.
Remember the rich young ruler in the Gospels? He was an arrogant, self-righteous hypocrite. Well, he was. In Mark’s account, it reads, “Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him …” (Mark 10:21). Notice “loved him” comes before “said to him.”
Honestly, that may be the root cause for why it’s hard to carry out the gospel in the first place– we don’t have a deep, abiding love for the people around us. Let’s pray that God gives us that love and that the Holy Spirit empowers us to act on it.