The Sacrifice

18 01 2015

Back in 1974 Cathy and I left our home in Ohio and moved to Indiana for me to attend school at a small Christian coRock _nllege located there. It was a little awkward at first being older than the rest of incoming freshmen plus married, but I was determined to make the best of it. Also I hadn’t been a Christian all that long, so there were some things I still had to learn that I was looking forward to. Unfortunately, there were some unexpected bumps early on that made things a little difficult; the first was an article in the school newspaper.

I was having a cup of coffee in the student union when the front page of the paper lying on a table caught my eye. There was a silhouette of a guitar player and a title above it saying, “Giving up the world for Christ.” The writer of the article then went on to describe how he practiced to become one of the hottest rock guitar players in the Dayton, Ohio area, but kept it secret from his family since they wouldn’t approve. He was also able to purchase several guitars, amps and join the top band in the region, then sneak out and play nightclubs and dives to all hours of the night and get back home with his parents none the wiser. “Hmm,” I thought, “I need to get another cup of coffee and read more about this incognito Eric Clapton!” He went on to tell how his band kept getting more popular and finally got their big break, opening act for a large music festival where this incredibly famous band was going to be the headliner. Now my forehead was wrinkled and I was scratching my head in a little confusion. I knew the band he mentioned and they fell more in the category of “one hit wonders,” but, okay, I’ll keep reading. After our Guitar Hero’s band played they were immediately approached by an agent for a big name record label that happened to be at this concert telling them how incredible and wonderful and powerful and (Well, you get the idea) they were and he had contracts to sign them to a great record contract right then and there. Rock and Roll Cinderella at its best, this guy and his crew would soon be hobnobbing with the likes of the Rolling Stones and living the dream! That is, until (and I could mentally hear the dramatic music rising in the background with his next words) God convicted his heart about what he was doing.

“I looked out over the thousands of people there at the concert and realized all I was doing was helping them go to hell.” Whoa, that’s pretty dramatic! He finished up with, “I just couldn’t do the devils work anymore so I told the band and the agent I wasn’t signing the contract. The guys were mad at me because if I didn’t sign, the agent didn’t want them. I was able to sell all my musical equipment, move away from my hidden life without my family or church knowing what I had done; now I’m here at school putting my life in order the way God wants me to so that I may serve him better.” The End.  The writer, of course, continued to keep his identity anonymous; and truthfully had I written this, I would have kept myself secret also.

Now there was a lot I didn’t know about being a Christian back then, I admit that! But I did know a thing or two about the music industry and playing in a rock band. No disrespect to the brother who wrote this, but it was a total fabrication. If you’re that hot a musician, there’s no way you’re going to play all over a local area and not have people who know you find out. Plus, it would be nice if record companies worked like he described, but that’s just not the case. I could go on with many details of why I found this whole tale false, but there’s no need for that. I did keep the article for a number of years and showed it to numerous musician friends who came away with the same reaction that I did.

I did find myself in a discussion that afternoon with a couple of students who listened to my argument and agreed with me, but a good number defended the writer and his story because it was so marvelous what God had done in his life. One guy sitting at a table nearby never said a word, but looked disgusted at me and made me wonder, “So is this the Secret Santana?” Guess I’ll never know.

Okay gang, here’s where I’m going with this; I’m not as interested in the story he forged as to why he did it in the first place. What was the reason or intent? Well, over the course of my lifetime I’ve seen and heard different ones tell of a dramatic chapter in their lives they gave up for the sake of God and others. One college girl speaking at a church told how she had been a wild child, drinking and doing drugs, but turned her life around with the Lord. Nice story and the girl smiled a lot, that is until she saw her parents in the audience at the close and they knew different. When questioned as to why she lied, her answer was she felt that her life was boring because she had never done any of those things and no one would want to hear the real story. In doing a study of numerous well-known testimonies that later proved to be fabrications, it seems this girl’s words ring true with others also. The common thread is a want for people to be in awe of what someone did or didn’t do, thus making God look good though them. (That last part I got from someone else.)

Max Lucado tells us, “You are the only you God made… God made you and broke the mold.”

In other words, God sees you, loves you and can use no matter who you are or what abilities and gifts you possess.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10

We don’t need to find some fantastic story to tell of ourselves because God already gave us one.  He’s given each of us something special that no one else has.

Richard Stearns says it this way, “What has God given you? Moses had a stick, David had a slingshot, and Paul had a pen. Mother Teresa possessed a love for the poor; Billy Graham, a gift for preaching; and Joni Eareckson Tada, a disability. What did they have in common? A willingness to let God use whatever they had, even when it didn’t seem very useful. If you will assess what you have to offer in terms of your time, your treasure, and your talents, you will have a better understanding of how you might uniquely serve.”

As each of you Travel the Rock Road, you carry a life scorecard with you. Some will have some incredible home runs posted there; still others will have only a single or two. That doesn’t matter; the One keeping score sees us all the same, winners in Him. Awesome!!!

See Ya Soon!!!


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