If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them wanders away, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others on the hills and go out to search for the one that is lost? Matthew 18:12
I learned something very important this week. If I stay out late at a concert and then have to get up for work at 5am the next morning, I am going to feel all of my forty-four years. I suspected this fact was true, but I confirmed it so this week. My husband scored tickets this week to the NeedToBreathe concert at the Alabama Theater. It was a last minute thing. As in he texted me that he got them at about 5pm and the concert was at 8pm. Immediately, I knew, “This is going to be painful in the morning.” It was. Who am I kidding?It’s now the second morning after and I am still feeling it.
I’d do it again, though. The concert was that good. If you haven’t heard of NeedToBreathe, then shame on you. I’ll plug the opening act, too. It was Ben Rector, and for an opener was surprisingly good.
As I sped home to get ready for my exciting night on the town, I was listening to the local Christian radio station. Most of the time, I would like it if they just stopped talking and played more music. Here’s why. They were talking about the NeedToBreathe concert on this station. This group is a unique group in that they really are hard to define. Most Christians who have heard of them want to claim them as theirs, but the band itself just says they are a rock band from South Carolina.
So, the DJ was saying that there have been questions raised (among Christians) as to why this “Christian” band often plays venues that serve alcoholic beverages. (*gasp*) The DJ read a letter from a woman who attended a sold out NeedToBreathe concert in Tuscaloosa. She wrote that she and her husband bought tickets to the concert because they wanted to enjoy a nice “Christian” night out. But when they got to the concert they saw that beer and other alcoholic beverages were being served. (*gasp* again) From that she determined that the group, NeedToBreathe, must no longer be a “Christian group” and expressed her profound disappointment in that.
I was really impressed with how the group responded on the air during an interview on my local Christian station. I was so embarrassed that they were even asked this, but it is the buckle of the Bible belt, after all.
Here is the answer the band gave. Lead singer, Bear Rinehart, told the DJ that when they were starting out, they played in churches and found that none of their lost friends would show up. So, at some point, they decided that they were going to have to go to them. That meant playing in venues that served alcohol. Being the son of a preacher, Bear’s parents were not pleased at first, but the group pressed on with what they felt they were called to do.
They are happy for Christians to come enjoy their positive music. Music that often points to God in heaven without speaking in a language those outside the church don’t understand. It’s positive, thoughtful music that happens to be really good.
So to the lady in Tuscaloosa, and to everyone who thinks it should be about them. It’s not about you. As I sit in the horrible traffic every Sunday at my church and wait for twenty minutes just to get in line to leave, I remind myself. It’s not about me. It’s about them. I could go to another church where no one ever walks out of darkness and into the light to follow Christ. I’m not being snarky about this, but honestly those churches don’t have traffic problems. The point is, He wants us to go get them and bring them with us. Sometimes that means you have to go where they are because if you wait for them to come to you, it’s often not going to happen.
As a follower of Christ, God loves me as His own chosen child, but His heart is longing for His missing ones. It’s not about me. It’s about them. We have to stop making it about us. He’s telling us to go get them.
Just in case you’ve never heard NeedToBreathe, here’s my favorite. (Okay…I realize that’s all about me, but it’s still a great song!)