The Greatest Gain
Current culture prizes earthly success far above the Christian’s call to appreciate life abundant in the now, much less treasure eternal later. Looking around; it’s hard to blame modern-day culture for not recognizing our future glory crowns. They’ve doubtfully seen evidence to convince them that we value heavenly inheritance over all the sweet distractions of a fallen world.
My experience in Christian music has me convinced that the standards in place to measure success for a “Christian” artist are lifted straight from the pages of secular music’s marketplace. The primary tools used to gauge an artist’s value - or worth - is nearly identical regardless of what they believe. When in the industry, I would measure success based on impressions - record sales, streamed songs, radio plays, venue data, tour history, online hype.
Why are Christian artists largely moved to compete with the world’s measuring stick? There seems little room for God-glorifying values by the standards of our day. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not pointing the finger at the CMI, or my friends still working within it, though I am charging the thought that God looks at us far differently than any industry ever has or will. We are called to envision each other as Jesus does. He calls us to live joyfully surrendered to His will regardless of man’s recognition or approval. The Apostle Paul said it this way:
"But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness". (1 Timothy 6: 6-11)
Regardless of how you’ve come to perceive success, as an artist, barista, student, career worker, or anything else in life, know that God doesn’t need (though He may sometimes use) earthly qualifications to use your life to draw others into His glory. Trust God and lean not on worldly understanding. Contentment in life, no matter how much or how little worth accompanies it, leads to the greatest gain.
Give your life entirely to Jesus, inviting Him to grow and stretch your trust!