Give to God What is God’s

When it comes to the worship community, I think some people get a little too upset whenever others don’t always give what’s considered a godly answer to all the compliments directed their way– regardless of whether the compliment itself was godly or not.

All the time, I hear people give compliments that are very based in practicality, or the opinion of the world. For example, if someone were to be complimented on their voice, and the complimented person was to reply with a simple, “Thank you, I’ve been practicing a lot,” some would think that response inappropriate. They would perhaps perceive the answer as vain or egotistical or indifferent, at the very least. Some would wonder why the glory wouldn’t be directed to God instead of themselves.

And I think that thought-process has some reasonable sides to it. The glory should technically go to God. He gives each person a voice, and usually, he also gives each person the inspiration and strength to practice and improve it. But try looking at it from this light: the way people state the voice should sound is not the basis of worship music, or worship in general. It is only the decoration, the cherry on top to make it more appealing at first glance. The real stuff is underneath. In fact, vocal merit is a musical demand imposed on us by the secular world. From the practical perspective, it’s more pleasant and profitable to have someone with an amazing voice as opposed to someone who doesn’t.

That’s why it seems a little confusing to me whenever some people reply to “Wow, your voice is amazing!” with some reply like “Oh, to God be the glory!” To me, it seems backwards to glorify something that we improve mostly because the world demands it of us. We don’t improve our voice just because of God. Honestly, we just want to sound good. And that’s okay! I think it’s reasonable to want to sound good; more people listen that way. But I think things that are imposed on us by the world should be replied with an answer just as worldly. The world says, “You have a great voice!” The world replies back, “Thanks, I’ve been working really hard!”

Now let’s consider compliments that are not based in what the world requires. Say someone approached a member of a worship team and said, “The last song really touched me.” It becomes obvious that an answer like “Thank you, I’ve been working really hard,” doesn’t quite fit the bill anymore. I think this is because this is a case where the glory does go to God, in a way that is undeniable. Being touched by God has absolutely nothing to do with us. We may be vessels (our voice is a part of that), but what that vessel holds is not from us. God touching us has nothing to do with the world or what it requires. It becomes clear that a “godly” compliment (“this song touched me”) should be a kind of question that is replied to by directing the credit to God.

“Then Jesus said to them, “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” And they were amazed at him. – Mark 12:17

Post by Lilly Kopp

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