“Live in harmony with each other. Do not be proud… Do not be conceited.” (Rom. 12:16
Last week a good friend, D., came over, who happens to be an opera-singer quality soprano that has blessed many, including me, with her God-given vocal talent My husband, a wonderful, sweet, tenor, came home from work while my friend was here and joined the conversation.
After a few minutes we all had the same idea—“Hey, let’s sing some Christmas carols together!” Singing Christmas worship songs with others ranks at the top of my list of Christmas-season activities—giving honor and glory to the Reason we have Christmas in the first place. It is, after all, His birth on earth we’re celebrating!
This led into talking about our choir, rehearsals, and the time we’d all just served at a Senior Living Center. “Praise the Lord for how He helped us learn the song and sound good together,” I commented. “Yeah,” my friend chimed in, “if you make an effort and pay attention, you can blend.”
That’s IT! What a profound statement—not just about choirs and ensembles, but about LIFE!
For me, as both a choir director and one who often accompanies singers on the piano, I really appreciate this kind of humility and team-player attitude that both my friend and husband have. Anyone who’s ever tried to direct or accompany a “diva” (in any organization) can understand how proud, inflexible people foment division and disharmony. When this happens, the group fails, falls apart, and everyone loses in the end, including the “diva”.
But consider when every member truly tunes in to the rest of the group, and does whatever it takes for their contribution to fit in and enhance the whole—a harmonious blend ensues! No one sticks out. No one’s voice is drowned out. And, in the case of the choir (or any musical group), the piece attains its highest possible beauty. The stronger voices build up the weaker, while the weaker get inspired and become stronger.
I’ve seen it work. Our current small choir includes two operatic tenors who just graduated from a famous music school, my husband, our strong-soprano friend, and another soprano who majored in vocal performance. Then there’s “the rest of us”. Except it’s not just “the rest of us”—we’re the whole choir! As the director, I face everyone and hear “ONE VOICE”—the opera-types have humbly toned down their volume and the timid, “smaller-voice” types are bringing forth sounds they didn’t know they had inside them! Everyone wins, in the choir and in any audience.
This works in sports too, such as basketball teams. They can have a superstar that struts their stuff, but those aren’t the teams that win national championships. The teams that win are the ones who listen to the coach and each other and pass the ball—who play as a team (like the NCAA Villanova Wildcats did last season). No-one likes a ball-hog—not the teammates, not the coach, not even the spectators who eventually get bored with a “one-man show”.
Or companies and organizations. HR managers and search committees hire talent, but also always ask references “Is he/she a team player?”
Does that mean we should hold back and not share our talents, skills, and strengths? No! Bring it forth-- let it shine-- give it all we’ve got, with what the Lord gave us! Just, when we do so, don’t do it to show off-- pay attention to those around us and make the effort to edify. All it takes is humility, which leads to unity, which leads to harmony.
“…with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Eph. 4:2-3)
“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (Phil. 2:3-4)
The world will hear the harmonious blend.