Is What I Have to Offer Worthwhile?
Last year I sang in Church Meeting. It had been a loooooong time since I had sung in church. I was nervous. Mostly because I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to sing without coughing (at the time I had some health issues). But I didn’t cough. I sang, went through my song, and felt nothing. It was really a flat “performance” for me. This bothered me. I usually feel the emotion of the song flowing through me when I sing and I didn’t this time. To me it was an indication that my offering was lacking somehow. People, of course, were very kind and complimentary in their remarks as I passed through the halls during the remainder of the meetings, but I wondered what I had done wrong.
My prayer every time I sing in public is that the Spirit will flow through me so that people will feel it. My goal is to bring the Spirit. And yet I didn’t feel it myself. Did that mean I was lacking the Spirit? Did that mean no one felt it? I was confused.
A few weeks prior to this, in a church class, the teacher had stated that once we have achieved a certain level of mastery in various things, God steps back and lets us do it on our own. I considered those words in the context of my situation. I had performed enough in public being upheld by God and now it was time to do it on my own. I had exercised faith in Him. Now it was time to exercise faith in myself. God doesn’t want us to feel incompetent. He doesn’t require that we believe we are completely powerless. The more confidence we have in ourselves and our abilities the more He can work through us (if we remain humble and grateful). And as we progress in our Godly confidence the manifestation of His presence becomes more “normal” and comfortable and the witness doesn’t seem as strong, or stark and intense. That doesn’t mean we lack the Spirit, or that He has left us alone. It means the relationship is shifting to more of a partnership, and that is the point.
It is far too easy to compare experiences and judge ourselves as lacking instead of seeking an understanding of what is truly going on in our path of progression. It is also too easy to dismiss the impact of our offering.
The night that I sang I checked my email before bed. I had received a message from a woman in my congregation:
Thank you very much for your willingness to sing today, and for the grateful spirit you brought!! You did such a beautiful job!! This evening I’ve been listening to a woman on youtube sing that hymn. It’s interesting because in all the Sundays you have been in this congregation, today was the perfect Sunday for me to hear you sing it, and I am very grateful that it was you who sung it as opposed to anyone else. Thank you for sharing!!
It’s interesting how things work out. I was asked to sing in church almost a year prior to actually singing, but between my schedule and the meeting music schedule it just didn’t happen. But it did happen on the very day one person really needed to hear it. And even more, she felt the Spirit. We really have no idea what impact we make on others, even when we feel our offering is inadequate.
Elder Bednar, of the LDS Church talks about the power of touching “the one”, the one person. He says:
“But the keys of the kingdom were sent here to find a one. You don’t talk to a congregation; you talk to assembled ones. So just go get one, who will get one, who will get one. And that’s how it works, and that’s how you establish the kingdom, and that’s ultimately how thousands come.”
Do not doubt the power of your offering for doubt is a tool of the devil. Rather make your offering anyway, in humility, and embrace the lessons and growth that follow.