The Grind Of Jazz


This was originally an e-devo from Western Hills.

I played the trumpet in middle school. The first song my middle school trumpet tutor taught me was theme to Star Wars. I learned it in two days. Because Star Wars is awesome. The music is awesome. The characters are awesome. (J. J. Abrams – are you listening? Make it awesome again.) I played this music……ish.

I was good.

Then we moved to a middle school that didn’t have a band program. So I quit playing. I still enjoyed music and eventually I’d pick up the guitar but that would be later. As a 12 year old, I didn’t have a handle on the mathematics of music and the grind it takes to be good.

A typical song is 4 minutes long. How many hours went into writing that song? How many hours of practice goes into learning the notes of an instrument? How many more hours to learn to read those notes that make up a song? How many more hours to memorize it and play it perfectly? That’s the grind.

You keep learning, keep practicing. When nobody is watching – your practice. When you are stuck and tired – you keep practicing. When your sore – keep practicing. When you don’t want to – you practice. You have to keep putting practice after consecutive practice behind you. That’s the grind.

If you want to master an instrument – there is no alternate route. You must travel the grind.

If you want to master anything – there is no alternate route.

These are the principles we’ve unpacked so far for leading like Jesus:

Humble yourself.
Be a good follower.
Serve great.
Risk great.
Recognize your real power – your story, your source, your charisma.

This week we will unpack the last principle – multiply another.

The reality is knowing the principles isn’t enough. Memorizing them, putting the list in our bibles or on our refrigerators just isn’t enough. If I really want to learn to lead like Jesus, I’ve got to go through the grind of leadership.

Serving when it’s inconvenient…to people who don’t ‘deserve it.’ Leading like Jesus in arenas where it probably won’t be noticed or rewarded. Choosing to be humble, even allowing someone else to get credit. Being teachable and moldable, flexible.

My point is this – learning the lead like Jesus is going to come with some pain and discomfort. It’s inevitable. Unavoidable. To think otherwise is just foolish.

I remember the callouses and blisters my fingers would develop when I was learning the guitar. They were painful and uncomfortable. I had to push through that if I was ever going to get good on the guitar. (How good I really am is still debatable…)

To get good at leading like Jesus, we are going to have to push through some pain. That means some asking of forgiveness and giving of forgiveness. It means an attitude of – “I’m going to keep trying.”

And that’s why I keep asking people to serve. It’s why I like nudging people a notch past of where they are comfortable. To get to the good stuff, you have to put enough work and sweat in to make it past the grind.

And that’s my prayer for us and this series as we seek to apply it.


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