Someone once said, it’s not the people who write the laws who are the biggest influence in this world, it’s the people who write the songs.
So often we think that those who write our laws have the most power and influence in our world. We elect our leaders and they go off to St. Paul or to Washington, DC and make our laws. The news reporters tell us what they are up to and we pay close attention to what they do. Laws have a big impact on our lives and we need good laws to have an orderly society.
But I believe that those who write the songs have even more influence. Most of us can remember several songs that we have loved for a long time and know who wrote them. Songs, and the people who write them, enter deeply into our consciousness, much more so than the laws that people write and enact.
We often criticize our law makers for spending so much time in the capital debating and enacting laws and not enough time out among their people listening to what the people want. I don’t ever remember song-writers being criticized for being too isolated. The people who write the best songs are those who live among all the joys and challenges of life.
I think if you asked a bunch of people, “Which would you rather lose, all the law-makers or all the song-writers,” most of them would prefer to do without the law-makers than the song-writers.
Interestingly, when someone writes a really good song, many people want to have a copy for themselves and are not always willing to pay for it. That’s why we do need to have good law-makers to make sure the song-writers get paid for the songs they write.
I recently conducted a funeral for someone who was more of a song-writer than a law maker and I don’t even know if she liked music. (She was a big Star Trek fan.) What I mean is that the way she lived her life was not being bossy and making sure everyone followed the rules and laying guilt trips on everyone (although she was a fine, law-abiding citizen). No, she was someone that put a song in the hearts of those who knew her.
Some people, when they die, give us a sense of relief because we know they won’t be around to make us feel guilty for not following all their rules. This person will be missed because she brought joy and her own kind of music to the lives of those who knew her.
Jesus came into the world, not to write a bunch of new law, but to put a song in our hearts.
Many people have the idea that Jesus is just another law giver; that he gave us new and better laws but they are still laws, rules that we need to follow so that we can somehow earn our salvation. He is not. He came to put a song in our hearts by giving his life for us on the cross.
Jesus came and lived among us and then died for our sins. They are all forgiven and paid for. And numerous song-writers who have come to know this over the years have written some of the most beautiful music known to man.
One of my favorite hymns is based on the words of Job from the Old Testament. He wrote, “I Know that my Redeemer lives and that in the end he will stand upon the earth.” (Job 19:25) This verse forms the basis for the hymn, “I Know that My Redeemer Lives.” Verse one of this hymns states, “I know that my Redeemer lives, what comfort this sweet sentence gives, he lives, he lives, who once was dead, he lives my ever living head.”
How can a person know about the forgiveness, life and salvation that Jesus has won for us and not have a song in his or her heart? It was Jesus who put a song in the heart of the person whose funeral I recently conducted.
And what kind of person are you? Think about when you are gone. Will people be relieved because you won’t be there to boss them around and make them feel guilty anymore? Or will they mourn for you because your unique brand of Christ-inspired music has gone silent?