THE GREATEST STAGE PERFORMANCE Retitled “Kosher” by David Nkennor (2013)
Every performer knows the need for adequate preparation before the actual act. Every GREAT performer understands the importance of each single activity preceding the scheduled performance.
Sports men will consciously avoid taking steroids and other substances that may disqualify them from the actual game they look forward to. So would Singers! No knowledgeable singer will take in caffeine, oily foods or engage in undue screaming just before a grand performance. And no matter how confident we are, no one will indulge in drinking before a major business negotiation. We all want to get it right the first time, without having regrets abi? Guess what? …So did Jesus!
I’ll attempt to paint a picture of the life and death of Christ Jesus, and how it relates to your life. Yes, YOUR LIFE! This is what I call THE GREATEST STAGE PERFORMANCE. The summary of which is that, if worship is indeed sacrifice like Jesus exemplified on the cross, then we must come to terms with the fact that the efficacy of sacrifice is in the making; not in the offering! A perfect case-study would be the offerings of Uncle Cain and Uncle Abel. I had read that my older Uncle, Cain had brought an offering to the Lord even before Abel did; but the Lord “hath respect unto Abel and unto his offering” (Gen.4:3, 4). In other words, God respects you and then He respects your offering. The offering is never complete without the offerer (permit my excesses please!).
I have also learnt that it is not about the gift as it is the giver. This is where most people get it wrong! My Dad once spoke about a wealthy man who lived a reckless life. “He must be in heaven” he said and I asked “Why?” “Because he built a Church for our village” Now, that’s just awesome! I never knew one could buy their way into heaven o! …and I’ll never know (I’m not judging!). But it surprises me to see that God was pleased with the sacrifice that Abraham (our father of faith) hadn’t even given. Yes! At least no one or nothing died before heaven bore record that Abraham had done a great thing (Gen. 22:16). Hence, there must be something more than all we do that God actually requires of us. Don’t you think so?
Now, the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross was ultimate. It was total, pure, acceptable and more. But I realize that the significance and enormity of that sacrifice was a function of the totality of His life. A lamb without blemish or spots was required to do the job of cleansing in the Old Testament (Deut.17:1; Lev.4:3). In the Torah (Jewish tradition), certain animals are always set aside, separated from others as kosher. These were reserved by God to receive a higher level of holiness for offerings and sacrifices. In order words, God always had His own preferences. There is also a process called the mitzvah of kashrus by which kosher animals are elevated to higher levels of holiness (I’m guessing that is where I’ve been!). But in plain English, I’m beginning to understand why Jesus couldn’t be like every other person. Why he couldn’t get married and raise kids. Why he couldn’t take a nine-to-five or maybe do some business. Why he couldn’t indulge in one sin or at least some naughtiness, just for fun! (afterall, he knew the rules of the game well!). This sacrifice was significant, not just because of the blood that was shed, but because of the life that was lived. Indeed, HE WAS "KOSHER"! I’d think that God indeed had respect for the man and for the sacrifice.
Here’s where I’m headed friends. Our worship is not significant just because we sing aloud and cry and dance, shout and have goose bumps on a Sunday morning. Our worship is deep because we choose to stay HOLY and unto God alone. Whether on the stage or at the pub, our status remains the same. We are reserved as kosher until the time of offering. Our worship is even more glorious on a Sunday morning when we have lived our lives in worship from Monday to Saturday. The sacrifice of lifted hands, hearts and voices comes with such power and glory as was at the cross. This is our sacrifice of love; holy and acceptable unto God (Rom.12:1). Did I say you may not fall or make mistakes? NAY! But if you fall, you fall IN CHRIST. Did I say it’s all about self righteousness and not grace? NAY! But we have the mind of Christ. We think like Christ. An author once wrote “if you begin to think like a Millionaire, chances are higher that you’d one day become one” (Not sure how this adds to my point bur…).
So to all my friends, Worship Leaders, Musicians and Gospel artistes, let’s raise the bar on that sacrifice of praise and worship we give. It is possible. I’ll leave you with this. Posted once on my facebook wall “The stage is the easiest place to lead worship from; try leading by your life!” I’m getting better!