Anyone who knows me would certainly understand that I love good music. Music has been a foundational aspect of my life for as long as I can remember. My mind is an extensive library of songs, old and new, and that library seems to never reach a point of overload. Much of the music that is stored forever in my mind is sung by my wonderful friend, Janet Paschal.
Early last year, I invited Janet to Rainsville First to sing at Christmas. The previous year, in 2018, we had set up a concert date which ultimately fell through, because North Carolina was covered in snow. In December 2019, she made it! The concert was beautiful, and it was great to see Janet again. It was also wonderful to meet Kay, Janet’s sister, and John, her pilot…who also serves faithfully as her loving husband. I had never met John, but I will assure you that we became quick friends. He said he would let me fly his plane. John was a Senior Captain for United Airlines who flew 747's...my expectations on the plane are high!
Following the concert, we spent a few hours talking over dinner. Well, John and I were talking. As the “think-tank”, John and I solved more than a few world problems that evening. I’m not sure what everyone else did. John and I assumed they talked too, but who knows? It was a great evening with wonderful friends. We laughed, reminisced, and thoroughly enjoyed our time together.
As Janet sang through her program earlier that night, I began to recall her decades of spectacular music that has graced the lives of so many. Songs like, One Rock, Written in Red, If I’d Had My Way, God Will Make A Way…and so many more. My eyes teared up a little as I thought about how these songs integrated themselves, not just into my heart, but into my own ministry, as well. Many of Janet’s greatest hits were sang by me at churches across the southeast in the early years of my own ministry. Those songs helped to form my mindset of how wonderful God actually was and His great love for me. And, those same songs, slowly and methodically, taught me the power of one voice willing to be used by God.
We all have a voice. Some of us use that voice behind a microphone, accompanied by music, to sing to others of the wonderful message of Jesus. Many would preach or teach. Whether you have a voice that reaches many, or a voice that reaches only a few, you still have a voice. Everyone’s voice has the capacity to reach someone. What does your voice say to the world around you? If, more often than not, it’s full of gossip, opinion and complaining, then you’re probably not saying much of worth. If it’s full of compassion, grace, and love, then you may be saying more than you even realize. Using our voice is a privilege. Whether speaking or singing, our voices are created to bring glory and recognition to God. We carry a powerful message!
“Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” – II Corinthians 5:20. (ESV)
Have you ever stopped to really understand what that verse is actually saying? God has chosen us to carry His message to the world! He makes His appeal, His holy and righteous appeal, through our lives and our voices. What an incredible privilege to be found worthy to pass along that powerful and life-changing message. Do you view yourself as an ambassador of Christ? You should, because you are! If you do, you’ll understand the importance of your voice and the message it speaks forth.
Our minds, hearts, body, and voice are designed by a loving God to be used as ambassadors for Christ to a world in great need. That great need is Jesus. I’ve often heard it said that we may be the only “Jesus” someone will ever meet…meaning, we may be the only person who takes the time to speak the love of Christ into someone’s life. You know, we don’t meet anyone by chance. Every person crosses our path for a purpose, even when the point that “path-crossing” occurs happens as they carelessly run a red light and almost plow into the side of your car. At that moment, how you choose to use the voice that God gave you might be instrumental in their life. Know that it’s an opportunity. It’s an opportunity to either be screaming mad and obnoxious or to “be Jesus.” What will you leave as the legacy of that spoken moment? It matters.
We’re still in the opening week of a brand new year, and this is a great time to evaluate our own voice and examine what it’s speaking to the world around us. It’s hard to always be nice to a world that may seldom extend any nicety to us, but it’s not harder than Jesus dying on a cross for the very people who nailed Him to it. Our ability to speak Jesus into our world is not dictated by our circumstances...it's chosen by the depth of our walk with the Lord. Regardless of what may be occurring at any given moment, choose to use your voice to "speak Jesus."
I thank God for Janet and her voice. I’m thankful that it’s always quick to speak and sing about the love of God. I pray my own voice would be tempered by her example, and I pray my future words might be evaluated under the light of Christ abiding within me…and those words be found worthy of the ambassadorship God has called me to.
“And he said with a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come, and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.”
– Revelation 14:7
Keith Beatty is a Worship, Missions and Media Pastor living in North Alabama. He's excited and very humbled to be a follower of Jesus Christ!