I am a terrible musician. In middle school when everyone had to participate in band, I “chose” the clarinet. By “chose,” I mean that was the instrument my brothers had played, and it was sitting in a closet. As the band l marched toward playing our first concert, we had to audition for our placement (1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc. chair).
The good news is I got 4th chair; the bad news is there were only 4 clarinets. What I know now is the 1st chair musician sets the pace for the entire instrument grouping. If the first chair is competent and powerful, the entire group will rise to meet the challenge. If your first chair is weak, the group and the entire band will suffer.
In most churches, the first chair is the Pastor, Elders, Deacons, or a wealthy contributor. In most families, it is a parent, the matriarch, the patriarch, or a child. In most work places, it is the boss, , the stockholders, money, or a manipulator. In your life, it is you, a desire, another person, or sometimes nothing.
Only Jesus is worthy to fill the first chair. If Jesus is not first chair in church, family, work or life, then all pursuits are devoid of meaning. When we open ourselves to him, Jesus will set the pace for our lives. We only have to learn to play in sync with the tune he is already playing. We will find ourselves contributing to something beautiful and everlasting.
We can go through life orchestrating, controlling, and manipulating our situations. This fallen way of life does not mesh with our spiritual wellbeing. In 1 Corinthians 11:30, the Apostle Paul reminded us that we suffer because we are not living harmoniously with God. Or more simply said: we have unrepentant sin. At the heart of all sin is the attitude that my way is the best or that God’s way is not correct. Sin is rebellion, and rebellion is removing God from His rightful place in our lives.
Jesus was accused of unGodly behavior because he performed miracles on the Sabbath. His answer was beautiful, “…I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing.” (John 5:19 ESV) For Jesus, the Father is always the first chair. His answer to the accusation of rebellion was to point out his absolute obedience.
Obedience is only challenging when it opposes our preconceived cultural philosophies. True obedience does not need understanding. Often understanding follows obedience. God does not desire ignorance for His creation, rather wisdom, which is found in obedience to His will.
Letting God have the throne in our lives is challenging. Most people do not want to be in charge, but paradoxically they also want control. We want responsibility when things go well, and plausible deniability when they do not. When we place our faith TRULY in Christ, we yield any illusion of control in our lives.
Trust Jesus completely, and we learn to release our rebellious cultural philosophies. We are freed to love and be loved. There is no fear greater than being fully exposed, but there no freedom greater than being fully loved in our exposure. We only find that in Jesus Christ. Let him have the first chair.