I had a conversation with a pastor recently who said that he wouldn’t mind “having a guy leading worship that couldn’t hold a tune, as long as he was anointed.” This idea isn’t altogether unusual, as most pastors and worship leaders understand the importance of anointing over skill in leadership position. This is something that we see over and over in the Bible where God called people into the least expecting positions; Moses, Samuel, David, Paul, (do I need to go on?).

However, something about the idea of an inadequate musician leading musical worship stuck in the back of my head and kept nagging at me like an itchy shirt tag. Was that right? Of course, I myself have always said that I would take a heart over talent any day. So does that mean I should let someone take on a musical task that they have no natural talent for simply because “they have a great heart?”

Ironically, the next day I came upon a scripture that answered my question, and put in the “heart vs. talent” question into perfect balance.

David was making plans to bring back the Ark of God to Jerusalem. God gave the Levites the task of carrying, guarding and leading Israel in worship before the Ark.

1 Chronicles 15:19-22
The musicians, Heman, Asaph, and Ethan were chosen to sound the bronze cymbals. Zechariah, Aziel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Unni, Eliab, Maaseiah and Benaiah were chosen to play the harps.  Mattithiah, Eliphelehu, Mikneiah, Obed-edom, Jeiel, and Azaziah were chosen to play the lyres. Kenaniah, the head Levite, was chosen as the choir leader because of his skill.

Now that first thing to notice here is that the men being chosen to lead in worship were Levites, God’s anointed priests. These were men that God had called specifically, generations before, to worship carry the ark and bring the Lord’s worship.

Secondly, we see in verse 22 that musical skill was a large factor in placing Kenaniah as the choir leader. While God looks at our heart first to see our character and motives, He also places a high value in skill and excellence.

For Worshippers
God has given each of us gifts, talents and strengths to use to glorify Him. To some, those are musical talents, and others, they aren’t. When we join in congregational worship, an individual’s musical talent makes very little difference to God, in comparison to their heart.

1 Samuel 16:7 (NLT)
“People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

In our worship, even the most off-pitch voice can be beautiful in the ears of God, if it comes for passionate heart.

For Worship Leaders
To those leading a group in worship, there is a lesson learned about God’s standards for leadership. Its all about balance.

First and foremost, God chooses the anointed. The Levites were God’s priests, called and anointed to bring worship before the ark.

Second, in leadership we must have a skill in our calling. Whether its through natural talents or divine blessing, God will always equip who He has called. This may not happen overnight and it will probably take time for God to develop the gifts He has put inside you, but be sure that if He has called you, He will empower you. In turn, God also demands excellence from us in our gifts.

Ecclesiastes 9:10 (NKJV)
Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might;

Psalm 33:3
Sing a new song of praise to him; play skillfully on the harp, and sing with joy.
Clearly, God wants our best, and we should bring Him our best, purest sacrifice of praise as we worship Him.

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