The Parable of the Self-Conscious Chorister
I’ve been my church chorister for a year now. Though I’ve enjoyed getting to know the people in the choir and choosing the music to sing, I’ve struggled to enjoy being the one who leads. I am not a singer, and I’ve always felt inadequate when it comes to my musical abilities. There are so many people who are better than I am at playing the piano, and I’m sure that at least fifty percent of the population is better than I am at singing.
I don’t have a great musical ear, so it takes all my concentration to get my lines right. Often, after we’ve gone through a song, the members of the choir will ask me how they did. I will answer, “I don’t know. I was just trying to sing the notes.”
Other times, I have realized that I sung some measures particularly poorly. The members of the choir have seen me make a face and assumed that they had sung poorly.
This phenomenon has made me realize that in order to be a good chorister, I have to forget about my own voice and focus on other people’s voices. My role as a chorister is to be a cheerleader and coach, helping everyone stay together and sing their best. I can’t do that if I’m only focused on myself.
To me, this is a metaphor for life. When I am interacting with people, they want all my attention. If I focus on my own inadequacies, people may view my pained expressions and assume that I find them inadequate, or they may see my preoccupied expression and assume I don’t care about them.
My father had a rule he lived by, which he called the Latimer Law of Reciprocity. He told me that I shouldn’t worry so much whether a particular person liked me. I should worry whether I liked that person. Usually, if someone sees that you like them, they will like you in return.
I believe that Jesus was also teaching about this selfless way of serving others when he said, “He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.”