I sat there in amazement as I watched quite possibly one of the world’s best lyricists pour his heart out through his autobiographical set list. Amazing. Yet so empty. So lost.
My heart, filled with a sensitivity that sees the degree of emptiness in so many artists, demanded a response. That faithful Spirit was tugging once again. A reminder of what God has called me to. A reminder of what Josiah needs from you and I.
For as long as I can remember, going to shows for me meant spending the couple hours praying for the artists on stage. I love music, but I was never really enthralled by it. Instead I was distracted by the question of where the artist was at with the Lord – not for me to judge, but to wonder.
It’s a hard thing to publicly lead and privately struggle with a vision I have yet to see complete clarity on. When RYFO began, we set out to support struggling Believers. Friends of mine had fallen hard. I wanted to create a solution that would derail the inevitable touring pitfalls. What if we could bring Christians around them, filling their lives with care. Love. Connection. Encouragement. Support. Accountability – all good things. Then they’d be fine? Are those verbs, nouns, whatever they are the answer? Or is something else? Was there something more central that I had missed…were my efforts misaligned…
At the center of all people’s problems and struggles, lies a space for the Gospel of Jesus. Really, it is the solution, for both Believers and non. It is in the Gospel that I am reminded of my need, daily. It is not something that I have the liberty of pocketing, and forgetting about either. And It is what sustains me, and what reminds me of my need for a Savior. I didn’t accept the Gospel once, I accept it everyday, as it is given to me daily. It’s as powerful for me tomorrow as it is for the person who has never known the Lord. For the people going through problems and struggles.
Thankfully, RYFO is not about me, or “my” vision. It’s not about you, or yours. It’s not even about music. It’s about the Gospel, and how we are called to give it to both Believers and non. In deed AND word. And the byproducts of that are: Care. Love. Connection. Encouragement. Support. Accountability.
I am convinced that our efforts must start with a motivation to give the Gospel, rooted in our own face-to-face experience with it. If you have yet to be wrecked by the Gospel and it’s redeeming power in your own dark trashy heart, you won’t be driven to share it. And most likely, you will instead lead your efforts as I have, with every other possible verb.
This is not a debate about “being trusted first before you share the Gospel”, or “not hammering them over the head with the big black book”, or, “I’m just a-plantin’ seeds for someone else to reap”. It’s about whether or not you’ve been wrecked by the Gospel yet. Do you make excuses for why it’s difficult to share the MOST meaningful thing you have to say to anyone? I know I do. I pray I don’t. We are “serving the voices”. But don’t let that confuse you. And don’t let your efforts stop with service. Yes, you may not get a chance to offer anything more than a meal or a hand loading in a band to a venue. But hope for the opportunity to link your service to Jesus in their minds. Because it’s not about your service, or mine, or RYFO.
I wish I could say that I gave Josiah, Jesus. Instead I gave him my business card. But not because it was the easy out. I had but a moment to shake his hand. So I am praying for you. Whoever you are that gets the first opportunity this Summer to serve Josiah as he tours the country again alone in his car. May you give him Jesus. All of Jesus.