We go to great lengths and personal expense to make sure our children and grandchildren have the best clothes, schools, lessons and coaches. We begin economizing and genericizing the moment they are born in order to save money and set it aside for the best of college educations. We surrender our own personal wants, preferences and even needs so that they will have everything necessary for a successful future.
In fact, most of us would literally give our own lives for our children and grandchildren because no sacrifice is too great … except maybe when it comes to our worship music preferences. Mitch Albom wrote, “Sometimes when you sacrifice something precious, you’re not really losing it. You’re just passing it on to someone else.” (The Five People You Meet in Heaven)
Sacrifice is surrendering for the sake of something or someone. It is the act of giving up, offering up or letting go. A baseball bunt is a sacrifice for the sole purpose of advancing another runner. Executing this sacrifice is called laying down a bunt. What if parents and grandparents had that same disposition when it came to their musical preferences?
Sacrificing our preferences should never compromise biblically, theologically or doctrinally but often requires us to make adjustments in order to accommodate generationally and systematically. Gary Parrett and Steven Kang wrote, “Churches must realize that it takes the whole community of faith to raise the children of that community in the faith.” (Teaching the Faith, Forming the Faithful: A Biblical Vision for Education in the Church 152)
Sacrificing our worship preferences is only possible when our common ground is deference instead of preference. Deference is a learned and practiced submission based on conviction … preference is based on feeling and tradition. Deference encourages worshipers to respond in spite of the traditions and embedded theology that previously influenced their thinking and actions. Deference is the agreement that although we may not always like the music of our children and grandchildren … we are willing to sacrifice our own preferences because of our love for those children and grandchildren.
In the book of Romans, Paul focused on the divisions by which we segregate ourselves. In the twelfth chapter he wrote, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – which is your spiritual worship.” Terry York and David Bolin wrote, “We have forgotten that what worship costs is more important than how worship comforts us or how it serves our agendas. If worship costs us nothing but is fashioned to comfort our needs and preferences, it may not be worship at all.” (The Voice of Our Congregation: Seeking and Celebrating God’s Song for Us 108)