Philippians 3:12-17 King James Version (KJV)
12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.
13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
15 Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.
16 Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.
17 Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.
I’m Not Perfect…
To put this in perspective, imagine your greatest earthly role model admitting to you and all of the city that there are still areas that they know they still need to perfect in their life. Paul was writing to the church at Philippi. In his short letter of encouragement, instruction, admonishment, and blessing, he stops to mention that he realizes that he is not Jesus and is capable of making mistakes. It is important to realize that our leaders, although they may have many admirable characteristics and are responsible for leading us, are still human just like you and I are.
I Press Toward the Mark
One thing I can respect about Paul’s example here is that by admitting that, like us all, he is not perfect and can identify with those of us are aren’t Jesus Christ. However, instead of simply letting us off the hook, Paul gives us a example that we are able to follow. He has a motive of constantly pressing toward the calling of Jesus. Further, he encourages us to follow his example and look for others around us that whose conduct and behavior shows a Godly example on earth. While Jesus is our ultimate example, it is important for us to become examples of men and women who are striving to be more and more like Him.
Become a Perfectionist
I won’t apologize, I am a perfectionist. Of course, I have learned that it takes a lot of maturity to have a mindset toward always seeking improvement while encouraging (and not annoying) others around me to do the same. I have learned from Paul that great leaders are humble enough to admit that they are not perfect yet, making their example an example that others can actually follow. However, great leaders encourage ALL to strive to be more like Christ by their consistent effort to improve themselves.
Perfect Your Gift
So… why is this important to minstrels? We’ve all been there. It is easy to get in a rhythm when it comes to sing and playing for our local churches. God knows our heart, after all. We’re not professional artists or anything so, it’s ok to do enough to get by Sunday after Sunday… right??! WRONG!? Even in the area of music, we should constantly seek to improve our technical abilities of singing and playing, while continuing to also perfect our spiritual gifts so that we can touch the heart of God, Sunday after Sunday, creating an environment of worship and showing an example that the congregation can follow. With the new year beginning, this is a call to evaluate where you are as a minstrel, or if you lead other minstrels to evaluate strengths and weakness and strengthen the weakness. Be the example ministry, by showing a consistent effort to improve your gift. After all, do you really think God wants you to bring the same old dusty gift you gave all last year!?