I recently had the privilege of helping provide the music for the wedding of two young friends of mine, Jon and Bethany. They are a wonderful couple, both very gifted in music, both devoted to God and to serving His people, particularly in the area of leading worship. Their journey through friendship, courtship, and engagement was a joy to observe, as they have lived pure lives, and put God first in the choices and decisions they've made.
At the rehearsal, we worshipped and our pastor invited the presence of God. His presence began to fill the room, and the bride and groom were undone as the Lord began to minister to them. It was a beautiful, powerful moment.
A thought struck me as we were there together in the glory of God. As gifted and talented as Jon and Bethany are, the Lord was not there manifesting His presence because of their gifts and talents – they weren't playing, singing, or doing anything 'gifted' at the moment – He was present, glorifying Himself and making Himself known because the lives Jon and Bethany live are pleasing to Him. They have determined to seek God as their reward, and in that moment, He was rewarding them among their friends and family by being found.
Here's the phrase that came to my mind –
Your gift will make room for you, but it's your life that will bring the glory of God.
Your gift and talent will cause people to notice you, and they'll make way for you, just like at the gift table at a wedding. If people are crowded around the table, when they see you coming with a gift for the bride and groom, they'll make room for you. But when the bride and groom are opening gifts, although they appreciate the stuff they get, what really blesses them is receiving those things from people they know and love.
People will make way for us to serve them when they see we are gifted, but what they really need – and what they are really hoping for – is the glory of God (God Himself to show up). That will happen, not if we can play the guiltar or sing well (although, hey, it helps!), but if the lives we live honor God. Develop the gifts God's given you in every way you can, but use them as a tool to express what's in you, don't depend on them. Develop a worship life, and depend on God. When you draw near to Him – in your own time of worship, or when you're leading others – He will draw near to you.