One of my all-time favorite characters to read about in the Bible is David. And although he seems to be the go-to person every time we hear a message or bible study about worship or music, I’d like to shed some light on a few characteristics that I’ve learned about him while studying about his life. These characteristics actually have nothing to with music per say, but characteristics I feel are important for every person that leads others – whether on or off the platform. I think we can all agree that David, just like us, was far from perfect, but there are a few things he got just right.
Let’s start with the first one… His passion for the presence of God.
David was passionate for the presence of God. That’s why you read passages like Psalms 27:4 where he says: “The one thing I ask of the Lord, and the thing I seek MOST, is to live in the house of the Lord ALL the days of my life, DELIGHTING (basking) in the Lord’s perfections and meditating in his temple.”
When you are passionate for something or someone, there are never enough hours in the day. You’ll wake up early and go to sleep late. You’ll cancel plans, and do whatever it takes. No one has to force it on you or out of you, it just comes out naturally. And you can spot what people are most passionate about by observing three things: what they talk about the most, where they spend their money and what they do daily.
As worship leaders, musicians, and leaders serving in ministry, we can get so caught up in the hype of “doing” that we forget our role of “being.” In a fast-paced world, we need to learn the art of being still. We need to find that quiet place where our cell phones are off or in another room, and where there are no distractions.
Colossians 1 says that everything was created “for Him.” How can we lead people to God, if we don’t know who God is? How can we ask of others to commune with Him, when we don’t do it ourselves? Do you know one of the reasons why there is so much burnout within ministers and leaders? Because they’ve poured out more than what they’ve poured in.
Before we are called to serve, we are called to commune, that’s our source, He is our fuel. And if we want to see our leaders and congregation passionate for God, we need to be the first to lead by example. Those under our leadership will only model what they see in us.
David was real and authentic. When he was having a good day, you KNEW he was having a good day. But when he was having a bad day, you KNEW he was having a bad day. And you can read it all throughout the book of Psalms. It almost seemed like he was bipolar because his mood would LITERALLY change from one verse to the next.
Listen to what he wrote in Psalms 31 - this is the happy David - “You are my rock and my fortress” (v.3), “I trust in the Lord” (v.6), “I will be glad and rejoice in your unfailing love” (v.7), and then just two verses later, we see the sad and anguished David: “Have mercy on me, Lord, I am in distress” (v.9), “I am dying from grief” (v.10), “I am ignored as if I were dead, as if I were a broken pot…” (v.12).
David’s emotions were raw and real. But one thing I love about him was that He didn’t go running to his phone or laptop to blast every single thing he was going through on social media, or go to cry and complain to all of the members of the congregation. He did all the opposite; he took it straight to God. All of his cries, moments of anger, feelings of abandonment and moments of victory were shared with God. He knew who his source was. He knew where he could find the answers. He knew that if the situation needed to change, it wasn’t going to come through a man, but through God.
Life is hard, and it can sometimes be very messy, but there is something that we need to remember, and that is that we can’t hide ANYTHING from God. He knows us better than we know ourselves.
Even with all his mistakes that he made, the bible tells us that David was a man after God’s own heart. Can I tell you something? It’s one thing for man to recognize you and say these words about you, but it’s totally different thing when God says them about you!
May God find in us a people that are raw, real and authentic.
David knew how to submit to authority. Even though he had already been anointed to be the next king over Israel, he honored the season he was in, and waited his turn with patience and perseverance. He knew God’s timing wasn’t his timing.
You might say, but you don’t know the type of leader I have to serve under. He/she is arrogant, full of themselves, and they love to make things difficult for me. Welcome to David’s life. Do you remember what David’s first role in the palace was? It was to come and play the harp so that the evil spirit that was on King Saul would leave him. Imagine that. David was serving under the leadership of a demon possessed man. How’s that for difficult!
But even when David had the perfect opportunity to kill Saul, he said some of those most powerful words ever written in scripture about leadership. He said I WILL NOT TOUCH God’s anointed. “But David, you have all the right to do it! But David, he’s been a terrible leader. But David, you deserve to be in that position, not him. But David…” What a way for him to honor God, by honoring the man God had put in place of authority over him (with no questions asked).
We live in a culture that speaks their mind about everyone and everything, and they aren’t afraid to voice it at the top of their lungs to share it with the world. And that mentality has filtered into
our churches today. We’ve lost the culture of honor. We don’t understand the blessing there is when we submit to our authority.
I love how real the Bible is, because it shows us the good, the bad and the ugly. If it were filled with perfect scenarios, we’d have reason to question things. But the Bible is as real as they come. And our job is quite simple, and it’s two fold: #1, to submit to those in leadership and #2, to pray for those that serve in leadership. If we prayed for our leaders as much as we complained about them, things would be so different.
Stories like that of David inspire, motivate and encourage me. In the busyness of our lives, I pray that we would learn take a step back and make room for more God-encounters that would help change the way we view God, ourselves and those we do life and ministry with. May we each day live lives that are passionate for the presence of God and the things that move His heart. May we also live lives that are open and honest with God and those around us, and may we cultivate the culture of honor with those we get to serve alongside with – whether secular or ministry, knowing that we encounter blessing every time we submit and pray for those that lead us.
By: Lizette Y. Ruiz