IIIM Magazine Online, Volume 3, Number 52, December 24 to December 30, 2001

Music Matters
Show 8

by Robert Barnes

Originally aired Monday at 5:50 P.M. on WTLN 950 AM in Orlando, Florida, Music Matters is a weekly radio show that explores the nature of and antidote for the worship wars that exist in the church.

Have you ever awakened with bad breath? So bad that your dog ran away from you?

Do you think your breath was so bad that it even offended God? Though your wife may have told you it did, I'm Robert Barnes and I dispute that today on Music Matters.

You've never been so dirty as after you walk down a dirt road in the middle of a Mississippi day. The beads of sweat form, they start to drip, they start to run, and then the dust falls on you like a brown rain. If you were unlucky enough to be walking when a car drove by you, then you were absolutely covered by the dark-red soot produced by a hot southern summer.

This is a pretty accurate description of what I looked like as a young man when I heard the call go out, "It's time for evening church! Come inside!" and I would hear Ms. Tina Bass start to play a Southern Gospel tune, and Ms. Vicki would follow dutifully on the organ. On top of Whitesand Hill, just finished playing with my friends, it felt like I was walking into a freezer when I went inside for worship. Covered with dust and dirt and sweat, I would sit down, pick up a hymnal, start to worship the Lord in song, and never give my appearance a second thought.

And neither did God.

The Scriptures say that God does not judge men as men do, for men look at external appearances. God, when He judges, looks at the heart. He looks at motivations, he looks at faith, and he looks at humility.

Externals, whether they be smells or sights or sounds, are real. They matter to God; that's why Music Matters, that's why God made sights and sounds — he wants to be glorified, with songs and hymns and music on the guitar, the horns, the lyre, the drums, the organ, the piano, the voice.

But when God is judging us, he is looking at our heart. He does not mind stinky breath; what He hates is a stinky attitude. He does not mind dirty clothes; what He will not bear is a dirty conscience.

The matter of the heart is the heart of the matter, and whether you have a pipe organ or bongos in your church, that will always be true.

Never forget, especially as we begin to focus on more of the details of music in worship, that God is most concerned with an alive, active faith and a heart that is quick to repent. Repent and believe!

Why? Because if you don't, then the music we make at church won't be the only thing that doesn't matter.

I'm Robert Barnes, and this has been Music Matters. Thanks for joining me.