Thursday, July 25, 2013

Off-Center Music

"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33

During my sixth grade year, I decided I needed a record player.  I had been given an 8-track tape player for Christmas and it had jacks on the back where a turntable could plug in.  Obviously, I NEEDED a turntable so I could play records.  (I didn’t even own any records.) 

From about the fourth grade on, every summer I would mow lawns to raise money for my interests, and to assist my parents in buying my school clothes.  So Spring 1976 came, the grass began to grow, and I had a goal to attain: the purchase of a record player turntable. 

Somewhere during the early part of the mowing season, I saved enough that I could at last buy the turntable.  I think it was $49.00 plus tax.  The purchase absorbed the entirety of my savings, so my Dad had to front me the money to purchase my first record album.  Ready for this?  It was the Bee Gees album: “Spirits Having Flown”.  I didn’t know what Disco was.  I didn’t know how, nor care to dance, but I had a Bee Gees record.

After enduring the lengthy drive from Lubbock, Texas back to our home, which was in Amherst, Texas in those days, at long last I got to unbox my turntable, plug it in and listen to a record played on my new turn table.  Strangely enough, when the music played back, it was not consistently on-pitch.  It seemed that the hole in the middle of the record had not been punched quite in the center, but slightly off center.  So as the songs played on my Bee Gees record, Barry, Robin, and Maurice Gibb sang slightly sharp and slightly flat as the record turned.  I knew it wasn’t right, but I was okay with it because it was the only record that I had.  So I sang along with the Bee Gees…adjusting my voice ever so slightly to the pitch of the record as the songs played. 

Finding My Center
Not many years ago, I purchased that album on compact disk.  I laughed out loud as I immediately recognized that the songs stayed on pitch.  It wasn’t at all the way I had heard them so many times years before…but it was as it was supposed to be. However I was so used to the music being played flawed, the corrected songs seemed strange!

I’ve come to realize that my heart has a center point.  My life has a pivot point.   Because of sin, we are all off center.  We cycle up and down, struggling to keep our lives, our minds, our actions, our thoughts in proper tune.  But we are destined to fail.  Why? Because if my life is off center of Jesus…If I have my life somewhere, with me at the center and Jesus on the periphery, then my life-song is sung completely out of tune with his example.  And not only can I tell that the song is out of tune, but everyone who comes in contact with me…they can tell that something is not right

When Christ Jesus is at the center of my life however, everything is in tune.  It is as it is supposed to be. The song of my living is sung right and “singing” is a joy as well.  Keeping Jesus at the center is the key.  As John the Baptist said in John 3:30 “He must increase, but I must decrease.”

Almighty God, keeping your Son at our center does not come naturally.  We are compelled by nature to be “off-center” and to keep ourselves in charge. Help us surrender, Father.  Help us, and make us able to keep Jesus at the center of our being, and in all we do.  Decrease us.  Increase Jesus in us, we pray.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Submitted By Kerry Patton

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