Yesterday, I took some time to listen to some praise music by the late-great Keith Green. Keith was a tremendous song writer and pianist who pioneered the CCM (Contemporary Christian Music) in the late-seventies, early-eighties. Even if you don’t recognize his name, you have probably heard one of his songs in church or on the radio before. He was one of those guys, like Rich Mullins, who sang with such conviction. In many ways, he was a prophetic voice of his generation. He called people to quit playing games with God and to take up their cross and follow Jesus. He also had a “pay what you can” policy for selling his music. He didn’t care about the money; he cared about people knowing Jesus. Sadly, at the age of only 28, Keith Green was killed in a small plane crash along with 11 others on July 28, 1982. Although, he is no longer with us, we still have his music to remember him by.
This got me thinking yesterday. What will the legacy of our praise be? Will we pass on songs, hymns, spiritual songs that glorify God and build up the body of Christ? Or will we pass on self-centered praise that seeks to tear others down? I think of King David’s words in Psalm 103:
My soul, praise Yahweh,
and all that is within me, praise His holy name.
My soul, praise the Lord,
and do not forget all His benefits.
May every last drop of our praise be to God and God alone, so that there is no room for our pride or self-aggrandizement. We are creatures from dust; He is I AM. He deserves all of the praise!
In today’s generation, it seems like we are living for the praise of people, not to praise our Creator. I have seen this spill over into the Church as well. Christians are becoming less and less content with simply knowing God and making Him known; we want the world to know our names too. One of my heroes in church history was Count Zinzendorf of the Moravian movement. He is quoted with saying:
The missionary must seek nothing for himself, no seat of honor or hope of fame. Like the cabhorse in London, each of you must wear blinkers that blind you to every danger and to every snare and conceit. You must be content to suffer, to die, and to be forgotten.
Others have shortened this to “Preach the Gospel, die, be forgotten.”
Men like King David, Zinzendorf, and Keith Green are godly examples of what it means to leave a legacy of praise for the generation to come. They are remembered not because they sought to have their names in lights. Neither are they remembered for being perfect and therefore, worthy of praise. No, they are remembered because they used their voices and platforms to shine a spotlight on the One True God. They humbly exalted Him, and at the proper time, He exalted them (1 Peter 5:6). Again I ask you, what will the legacy of our praise be?
Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. Matthew 23:12