What Bach Teaches Us about Work, Worship, and Service


    Christians have been unable to escape the cultural compulsion of instant gratification. Our western society has so corrupted our expectations that we have not only grown impatient, we have also failed to grasp the profound negative impact this kind of thinking has on every aspect of our lives. There is nothing Biblical about this concept. When we do experience it, we should recognize it as God’s grace rather than some type of performance metric that has been achieved. Many of us are called to professions that do not produce immediate results, and all of us are called to minister and to love one another. Do I have to explain all the ways that this does not create instant results? This is one of the reasons why the garden, planting, and the sowing of seeds are such powerful metaphors in Scripture. These things take time, but with patience a bountiful harvest can come to bear.

    The article below by Hugh Whelchel underscores the significance of doing what you are called to do regardless of the seen results because you never know what God is doing, but we know He does not waste our labor. The other significant idea is the seamlessness of Bach’s life among work, worship, and service. This finds expression differently in each of our lives, but this should be the goal—the blurring of the lines between work, worship, and service.


What Bach Teaches Us about Work, Worship, and Service

Ask people who their favorite composer is, and you will get everyone from the “artist formerly known as Prince” to Beethoven.

But ask who the best composer of all time is, and a majority of people who know anything about music will tell you it is Johann Sebastian Bach.

Bach lived in Germany in the first half of the eighteenth century, yet in his day, he was virtually unknown as a composer, and those who knew of his work hated it. He was an accomplished organist, yet the genius of his work as a composer would not be discovered until 80 years after his death. This humble man, who would become the baroque era’s greatest organist and composer, wrote most of his music never knowing if it would ever be played by anyone other than himself.

Bach was not only a musician but also a theologian whose medium was music. He clearly understood that one of his callings was to write music to the glory of God. In fact, at the end of every one of his musical scores, he would write Soli Deo Gloria (Glory to God alone).

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Quote: The aim and final end of all music should be none other than

the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul.

– Johann Sebastian Bach

Thanks to Kyler Nixon for the image on Unsplash.


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