One aspect of biblical Christianity that doesn’t get very much attention is the discipline of stewardship. So today begins a series of MM articles on what I like to call “Unsexy Biblical Principles.”
Stewardship is defined as “the responsible overseeing and protection of something considered worth caring for and preserving.” With this definition, we can apply the concept of stewardship to almost all areas of life. For instance, if you have skills at soccer, those skills were given to you originally by God and you are the steward of those skills. So you should take time and effort to craft those abilities and hone those skills to achieve excellence. You should utilize those skills to bring glory to God.
As it concerns music, I see two main implications of the concept of biblical stewardship. One is for anyone making music and the other is for anyone enjoying music.
To those who make music: Use your abilities to create excellent music. Be creative. Tell the gospel in a unique way. Don’t muck about with the skills and desires that God gave you to make music. If you can’t say with a clean conscience that what you’ve created is the best you can do and is excellent in your opinion, then work on it some more.
Now to the enjoyers of music, I have more to say. Anyone that enjoys listening to music (or enjoys reading books or watching movies or enjoys any other artistic expression, really) should take care to spend a proper amount on the art you’re enjoying. This includes both your time and money. By this, I mean that getting the music you love for free when the creator of that music isn’t offering it for free is bad stewardship. God gave you your money and God gave you your love of music. Do you think that’s a coincidence? Even though you may feel like you don’t have enough money, God has designed your circumstances so that you have the amount of money right now that He deems best. So if you want to listen to a particular album, don’t withhold your God-given money. Bless the creator of that album with your money! There are many ways to do this and I’ll let you figure out how to make it happen. I’m not here to set down a list of rules, but rather to outline what biblical stewardship is and how it applies to our music scene.
Now, there is also such a thing as spending too much money on music. That’s the other end of the stewardship spectrum. Being a good steward of the funds that God has given you also means not spending an undue amount on items that give you pleasure (music included). If you find a giant chunk of your money going to the purchase of music and you see that you’re not tithing or supporting missionaries or paying your bills, then you should rethink how you’re budgeting your money. Again, this is not a seminar on financial health or details in money strategy. Just use common sense: don’t take for free what’s not given for free and also don’t spend more than you ought on entertainment.
Ok, the last thing I’ve got to say to enjoyers of music is about time. Be aware of the time you spend listening to music. I won’t set down any guidelines here either, but I think it’ll be good for all of us to just be conscious of the time spent listening to music. For some of us, it’s too little (I’m thinking of my mom here, who doesn’t listen to music at all except in church). For lots of us, it might be too much. Only you can make that judgment call. But remember, while the Holy Spirit may speak to you through great lyrics and great songs, He also speak through silence and stillness. Set apart some time for Him to speak to you without any noise going on. Be conscious and aware of the time you spend listening to music and the time you spend hearing from God through that music or through silence and stillness.