Music has always played a significant role in our society, and it has long impacted my own life. Lyrics can lift you up or bring you low; differing chords and notes can cause your mind to soar or your eyes to weep. The simple notes of a piano can invade your deepest thoughts, while the soaring wail of a guitar can pierce your soul. Beyond the strains of melody, the lyrical message of a song can move you to action or trap you in despair. Perhaps nothing has a greater influence on our mood than a song we hear on the radio or find playing in our head.
One of the most revered songwriters of the past forty years or so was John Lennon. Many people took his words almost as a gospel for their lives. Sadly, too many of us can relate to the lyrics of his 1981 song, “Watching the Wheels”. Take a look at a few lines:
“People say I’m lazy dreaming my life away”
“I’m just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round
I really love to watch them roll”
“I tell them there’s no hurry
I’m just sitting here doing time”
When I was younger, I remember relishing the words of this song. They seemed to depict such an easy going life, one without cares or worry. For followers of Jesus, however, these words are poison. They speak of a lackadaisical life, a life focused on ease and comfort. While I’m certain there are times in each of our lives when we just want to stop all the motion around us and play spectator for awhile, this is not an option if we are seriously committed to carrying out the mission of Christ. Contrast Lennon’s words with those of a more recent talented songwriter, Matthew West:
“I don’t wanna go through the motions
I don’t wanna go one more day
Without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don’t wanna spend my whole life asking
What if I had given everything?
Instead of going through the motions”
This should be the cry of every heart that loves Jesus. We should never be content with sitting still and “watching the world go by”. Jesus called us to be people of action. His first word of what has come to be known as the great commission was, “Go”. Jesus never commanded His followers to sit still and do nothing. He commanded them to be busy doing the same work that they had seen Him doing. We are not called to be assimilated into the culture of our day; we are called to be different and to reflect the love of Christ to a dark and bitter world. We have all been created with different gifts and passions so that we might share the message of Jesus with everyone we encounter. If we are content to simply go through the motions, we will never experience the power of God in our lives and the world will be deprived of the song we have been given to sing.
Recently I have been very moved by the lyrics of another young songwriter named Josh Wilson. Here are some words from his song, “I Refuse”:
“I don’t want to live like I don’t care.
I don’t want to say another empty prayer.
Oh, I refuse to
Sit around and wait for someone else
To do what God has called me to do myself.
Oh, I could choose
Not to move but I refuse.”
I want those words to be the prayer of my life. I never want to take a pass on the things God has given me to do. As followers of Jesus we should always seek to be proactive in carrying out the mission of Christ. We already have our marching orders, it is our duty to carry them out and follow through.
What will be the song of your life? Will you be content to simply watch the world pass by in front of your eyes or will you refuse to leave the work to someone else and throw yourself into the great adventure of following Jesus? At the end of your life will you stand before God with the music of His love bursting from deep within or will you, in the words of Emerson, die with the music still in you? We all must choose to live life either as a passive spectator or an active participant being the hands and feet of Jesus. The choice is simple, the implementation is not. Don’t be content with going through the motions and simply watching the wheels go ‘round and ‘round; refuse to be idle and wait for someone else to do what God has given you to do. Share the song He has given you while there is still time to let your life sing. May the love of Jesus resonate loudly from deep within your soul; let this be the music of your life.