“Mattanah, I’m just being honest: you really don’t have any pitch.”
I remember the day my close friend, Hannah, who is an incredibly gifted singer and worship leader at my church, told me the brutally honest truth about my singing voice. I say “close friend” because she wasn’t afraid to give it to me straight. I wasn’t a good singer. Everyone knew it, except me. Well, maybe I kind of knew it in the back of my mind, but I just didn’t want to believe it. However, after she laid the raw facts out in front of me, the reality hit me like a ton of bricks. “But I LOVE to sing,” I kind of whimpered inside myself.
In my early teenage years, all the young people around me seemed to be extremely talented at one of two things: playing a sport or doing something super musical. Guess what two things I’m really bad at? Anything sports related and anything musical. Now, granted, if I had worked tirelessly at these things, I may have developed some skill, but try as I might to live up to the talents I saw around me, I seemed to always end up below par.
One day, I finally gave up trying to create and develop talents in me that God never meant for me to share with the world. I told God if all I ever did with my life was love him, it would be enough. He took that humble surrender and did some amazing, yet unexpected, things through me that had absolutely nothing to do with sports or music. Even though I discovered the talents God gave me in other areas of life and I enjoy utilizing those talents for His glory, there was still a deep desire in my heart to worship through song. But I felt that what I had to offer was pathetic.
I’m constantly amazed at the way our heavenly Father thinks. His perception is completely different than ours. God describes this truth so vividly in Isaiah 55:9 when He says: “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts higher than your thoughts.”
When we think “quality” He thinks “sincerity.” When we think “quantity” He thinks “capacity.” The Bible gives a perfect example of this in Luke 21:1-4:
And He [Jesus] looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury, and He saw also a certain poor widow putting in two mites. So He said, “Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.
Scholars say that a “mite” was known in Jesus’s time as a “lepton,” which is Greek for “small.” And that describes this widow’s offering perfectly. Not only was it small; it was the smallest. Not only was it insignificant; it was the most insignificant out of all the offerings given. But Jesus didn’t see it that way. He didn’t see the widow’s hands as she tossed her two small, bronze pieces of money into the treasury. He saw her heart.
My singing voice is not only a small contribution to our worship service on Sunday mornings; it is the smallest (some people probably wish they couldn’t hear me at all!). My singing voice is not only insignificant when we gather corporately; it is the most insignificant. Yet, when I think of how Jesus perceived the widow’s gift, I think of how He must perceive my gift. It’s not what I offer; it’s how I offer it.
Over time, God has revealed to me that I don’t have to be a good singer to be a good worshiper. That truth has settled deep in my soul and become a part of me. So now, I sing unashamedly in church, and even more unashamedly (and loudly) in my car when no one’s listening. Jesus loves to hear me sing to Him, even if the pitch is way off. And not only does He love it, he requires it if it’s something I have in my heart to give Him. Even if I look at what I have to offer and it disappoints me and everyone around me, it doesn’t disappoint Him.
Dear sister, what do you have to offer?
You may think it’s small, insignificant but I promise, God doesn’t see it that way even if others do. You may feel conflicted because you have a talent for one thing, yet your heart soars for something else that you’re not very good at compared to those around you. Choose not to compare. Choose to offer it to God with a willing, full heart, and know that it is your way of worshiping Him, your gift to give Him and no one else.
You may have a friend like Hannah who told you the truth about what you were and were not capable of. And that’s ok. I’m grateful to Hannah for what she told me, because had she not said anything, I might still be chasing a singing career and embarrassing myself big-time in the process. I might not have ever realized that my desire to sing wasn’t the gift God gave me to give to the world; it was the gift He gave me to give to Him. The truth sets us free.
The widow knew what she had to offer was small. The world around you may see what you have to offer and not think very much of it, but Jesus does. Just give it to Him, and in return, receive the honor He bestows upon you for the sincerity of your heart and the effort you gave.
I want to pray something over those of you who feel you have nothing to offer. Don’t listen to that lie. You do. And even if you think it’s small and insignificant, offer it to God anyway. I promise it will mean the world to him.
Dear Lord, thank you for the revelation of Your love in every area of our lives, for showing us that it’s not what we have to offer that makes anything in our lives significant; rather, it’s the heart in which we offer it. You’re not looking for talent, you’re looking for willingness. You’re not looking for someone with a large quantity. You’re looking for someone who sacrifices even the little bit that they have. I pray for each one of my sisters: that they would find a great grace in You that will carry them in their efforts; that they will discover it’s not about what they have to offer, but how they offer it to you that will determine the extent to which you can work in and through them; that You love them for who they are, not what they can do; that the humility that comes from the revelation of “I’m not enough” will only bring them closer and closer to you, and there’s nothing else in this world of greater value than that. Let Your peace be upon their hearts, Your thoughts within their minds, Your vision in their eyes, and Your presence in their lives. Amen.