For four years I was an Assemblies of God minister and a monk with the Brothers and Sisters of Charity. The following is an excerpt from my book Taking Off My Comfortable Clothes: Removing Religion to Find Relationship.
Many times throughout the year, men and women would spend a week at the community to see if the monastic lifestyle was something they felt called to embrace. One time a young man came to the community who played the guitar. That wasn’t unusual. We had many guitar players visit the community, often because they were attracted to John Michael‘s music. What was unusual was what John said about this young man. John and I were discussing the possibility that he might join the community, and John observed, “He is one of the best guitar players I’ve seen, but I cannot tell him that.” Some egos are better left unwatered until the proper time.
Later that week this man and I had a conversation. He was going on and on about how he wanted to use his guitar playing as a ministry, and I remembered what John had said about his talent.
“How do you feel about playing just for God?” I asked.
“What do you mean?” he said.
“Are you content to just sit in a room and play for God with nobody else listening?” I said.
“But I want to play for people,” he said.
“Until God alone is a big enough audience,” I said, “then you aren’t ready to play for people.”