All throughout Scripture there are messages where we are compelled to give God our best. As a worship leader, I am often pulled towards Psalm 33:3. Here the psalmist is saying that he wants to play skillfully to God. Giving God a well crafted piece of praise, that has been well rehearsed. But this isn’t realistic for every week. What do we do, when no matter what, we utterly mess up a song during worship? How can we make mistakes and still be able to give it to God as praise?
As I write this, I just came out of a worship service where I completely failed at a song I have led many times. It started off terrible. I even stopped and tried to restart the song. For whatever reason, I just couldn’t find the right groove or get the timing right. I’m sure some of this was because we did not have practice this week as I had been sick. I immediately came off the stage and felt that I had ashamed God; that I hadn’t brought Him my best.
Then I remembered another passage of Scripture. One that caused me to rethink my emotions. Paul wrote in his letter to the church in Colosae, “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father” (Colossians 3:17, NASB). I felt terrible for leading a song so full of mistakes, but that should not have been my focus. We were singing to God and thanking Him for all He had done for us. We were giving Him praise because He is the Creator of all things and is in all things. Even when I make mistakes, He still loves me and appreciates my praise! The importance was not in the performance but in whether or not I was giving glory to God.
My wife often says, “All praise is beautiful.” I certainly needed that for today. I felt terrible, but that was a wrong mindset. I had the amazing opportunity to be in communion with the very creator of the universe.
I write this today as both a prayer of apology to me, and an encouragement to myself (and anyone who might read this). You do not have to be perfect in order to worship God. Even when I make mistakes in music, it is still beautiful to God. This is not meant to mean that I find practice and rehearsal unimportant. Rather, this means that mistakes happen and that’s ok. All praise is beautiful to God, and I am thankful I have that opportunity.