In Isaiah chapter ten, the prophet is warning the nation of Assyria of their impending destruction when he asks an interesting question. Speaking to the king about his pride and arrogance and over-confidence in his military might he asks:
Can the ax boast greater power than the person who uses it? Is the saw greater than the person who saws? Can a whip strike unless a hand is moving it? Can a cane walk by itself? (Isaiah 10:15, NLT)
It’s a question that exposes the king’s “evil boasting” (Isaiah 10:16) and God answers it with a word of rebuke.
And it’s a question that people in ministry, particularly worship leaders, should consider. Because it gets at the heart of something crucial: whether or not there is any power behind what we do.
An ax looks awfully threatening, a saw looks pretty scary, a whip looks sharply painful, and a cane looks somewhat helpful, but unless these tools are in the hands of someone with strength, they’re dormant and useless.
You see, it’s not about your credentials or degrees or experience or resume or congregation size. That might get you to a certain level for a certain period of time but it won’t endure.
The only way you’ll endure as a worship leader is by the anointing (literally the conveying of God’s power upon you), or the “unction” of God. Without the power of God behind you, you’re a powerless ax, an un-used saw, a coiled-up whip, or a stowed-away cane. It’s the power of God, his anointing and his wielding, that causes you to have any power at all, any long-term effectiveness, and any fruitfulness.
May we never fall victim to the kind of pride, arrogance, over-confidence, and “evil boasting” that we see in the king of Assyria in Isaiah 10. May we always remember and pursue the mighty power of God to stand behind us and use as he wishes as tools in his hand for the glory of his name.