Wednesday, December 28, 2005

A Tale of Two Hearts

In case the title of this post is misleading, this "tale" is true.

Sunday morning during church I was just getting into worship and heard something strange. It was a high-pitched "cheep" kind of sound that I first thought was part of the percussion. I heard it again and decided there must be a small bird in the building. After the third time I glanced to my left and saw that the man beside me was clipping his fingernails. It'd be bad enough if a woman was doing it, but a man...who I guessed to be in his mid-fifties! It would have been funny if it wasn't so sad. He was not singing or even engaged at all with what was going on around him - just concentrating on getting each nail just right. I nudged Cindy and pointed with my eyes so she could get a glimpse. How vain does someone have to be to do that during worship? I closed my eyes and shut it out, thanking God that the man wasn't wearing open-toed sandals.

The Presence of God was so heavy it was not hard for me to get right back into worshipping. Tears were falling down my face and I couldn't sing because of the knot in my throat. I just adored my Lord and basked in His goodness, mercy, and love. I heard a man in the row behind us glorifying God like there was nobody around, which to me is the way it should be. Every now and then (I'm sure you can relate) there will be people who you can tell are just trying to draw attention to themselves. This guy was different. It was genuine, heartfelt, and raw. From a natural, musical standpoint, his singing voice was one of the worst I have ever heard. He could have made the "bad" audition clips from American Idol. Yet, at the same time, what he was presenting was absolutely beautiful. God sees our hearts and I know He thoroughly enjoyed listening to this guy behind me sing. I know I did. Don't ever fall into the trap of thinking your voice is not good enough to sing to the Lord. Man looks at the outward appearance (or aesthetic sound), but God looks at the heart. I'd rather have tear-reddened eyes than trimmed nails any day.


At 12/29/2005, Blogger Connie said...

Dear Mark,
Your post today reminded me instantly of the pianist at the church where I grew up. He made a practice of clipping his fingernails during the sermon! Strange kind of statement that makes, I think. A strange kind of spiritual dissociation, eh?
He was such a skilled musician and somehow managed to hang on to his position despite an extramarital affair which produced two children with another man's wife.
Anyway, your post reminds me that sincerity is perhaps a much rarer commodity than we may think. God bless the pure in heart and speak with clarity to the disengaged.


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