With only a microphone in her hand, she walked to the center of the darkened stage. Before the musicians struck the first chord, before she uttered her first note, she closed her eyes for a moment hoping by the end of her song, by the time she finished singing her last note, she would have a “4 chair turn.” Or at least a “1 chair turn” – the sign that one of the four celebrity coaches had chosen her to be on their singing team on the popular television show called “The Voice.”
And so she sang. Pitch perfect. Every word of the lyrics sung without hesitation. It was just as she had imagined it would be, except when the music stopped, not one of the coaches had turned their chair.
Barely able to keep tears from flowing, her disappointment was visible, as the coaches spoke words of encouragement.
You have a beautiful voice.
Your pitch was perfection.
You have a gift.
But it isn’t just being able to sing beautifully to music.
You have to sing the song from the heart.
That was what she was missing, she didn’t sing from the heart. It wasn’t her lack tone or range. It wasn’t that her phrasing was out of sync. She had the precision, but she didn’t sing with heartfelt emotion that connects the words of the song to those who are hearing them.
Now I am the first to admit that I am not blessed with the gift of a beautiful singing voice. My range is narrow and I can easily sing off key. Certainly I would never qualify to sing on any stage, but I still can relate to the coaches’ advice when it comes to singing a song of worship to the Lord.
His concern is not how melodious our voices are or if we are able to sing every word of a worship song with precision. His desire is that we sing unto Him our words of praise “from the heart.” What we sing needs to connect to the One to whom we are singing. In fact, Paul admonishes us to:
“ . . . sing and make music from the heart unto the Lord.” (Eph. 5:19 NIV)
So whether it is during a church service and a time you are alone in prayer, our songs of worship to the Lord must not become routine. We must sing “from the heart” unto the Lord.
So next Sunday, when the musicians strike their first chord, when the worship team sings that first note, let’s not be an “audience.” Let’s join in, not just singing the lyrics of a song as part of a church service. Instead, let’s be inspired to participate by lifting up our voices, making music from our hearts unto the Lord. Let’s connect the words of the song to the One whom we worship. Remember, it is not how well we sing, but whether what we sing expresses the awe and love we have for the Lord.