The Sound Technician (and other jobs you only know about when things go wrong) May 12 2017

(Part of BCF’S blog series: “Society, Selflessness, and the Scriptures")

There are many reasons why we gather together as local bodies of believers: to praise the Lord through song and testimony, pray together, fellowship and encouragement, hear and apply the Word of God, and to be equipped for the work of the service (Ephesians 4:12).   All of these involve verbal and/or visual communication, and most churches have sound systems to help make sure we can hear clearly, especially when we sing together and hear the Word taught.  

Enter the person who runs the sound system.  There are many jobs in this world that go unnoticed, that is, until something is not quite right.  Running the sound system is one of those.  If the microphone goes out, the wrong mic is on, the sound is too loud, the sound is not loud enough, or there is the feedback “screech,” that’s when we remember that the sound technician is there.  The sound person generally serves in obscurity until that moment.

It turns out that there are lots of jobs like that, and many places where the Lord is served in human obscurity. Perhaps you have one of those.  The list of such jobs is very long, and I would hesitate to start the list because it would leave a lot of people out.  But this also includes many unpaid jobs: housework, bringing up the children, caring for an elderly parent - jobs for which there can appear to be little earthly recognition.  Let’s just say the sound technician is representative of the obscurity with which many people work and serve.

Thankfully, none of us serve in obscurity before God.  Hebrews 4:13 states that “no creature is hidden from His sight.”  Although there are times in which we might prefer this not to be true, it is great hope for those who faithfully labor in relative obscurity.  Ephesians 6:7-8 speaks directly to this:

“With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free.”

In other words, the most important audience for your service is God Himself.  We should strive to be the best employee, worker, student, helper, roommate, spouse, parent, or child we can be, but it is not for the purpose of seeking praise from others.  When we do receive praise, we can graciously accept it and give credit to the Lord, but we need not be discouraged if we don’t receive earthly praise.  

The scribes and Pharisees had an entirely different focus. Jesus said of them “they do all their deeds to be noticed by men; for they broaden their phylacteries and lengthen the tassels of their garments.  They love the place of honor at banquets and the chief seats in the synagogues, and respectful greetings in the market places, and being called Rabbi by men.” Matthew 23:5-7

But on the other side of the coin, we are to express our gratitude and provide encouragement for others, including those who labor in obscurity.  I Thessalonians 5:11 states “Therefore, encourage one another and build one another up, just as you also are doing.”  The Apostle Paul was a great example of this, as most of his epistles begin with words of thanksgiving and encouragement, such as:

  • Romans 1:8 – “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all ….”
  • I Corinthians 1:4 – “I thank my God always concerning you ….”
  • Ephesians 1:15 – “For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you and your love for all the saints, do not cease giving thanks for you ….”
  • Philippians 1:3 – “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you ….”
  • Colossians 1:3 – “We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you ….”   
  • I Thessalonians 1:2 – “We give thanks to God always for all of you, making mention of you in our prayers ….”

Serving in obscurity is a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate Whom we serve.  While we seek opportunities to encourage others (and are commanded to do so), we do not need to let our peace and joy depend on whether we receive praise or encouragement ourselves.  It is a great step forward in spiritual maturity when we realize this and can be content with either encouragement or a lack thereof.  Jesus is the ultimate example of this, and He could do it because He “kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously” (I Peter 2:23).  May we, by God’s grace, be able to say like Paul “I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am” (Philippians 4:11).  

And by the way, if you are looking for people to encourage, you can start with the sound technician, and others in the church who serve in relative obscurity, as well as those who are more visible.  They all “with good will render service as to the Lord” to help us worship and grow in our faith.

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Steve Smith