Jun 1, 2023
"I believe the role of a Christian mentor is ongoing, and it’s important to consider our role in the salvation of others."
I have taught music for more than 25 years. As a session musician, I got to work with some of the biggest artists in the world. Practice and natural talent are prerequisites to becoming a successful musician. Although I could never have done any of the things I did without the help of the Lord, I realize that sometimes he used me as a tool to help others fulfill their destiny.
I remember the first drum lesson I gave this one kid. He was 15-year-old and filled with enthusiasm and curiosity. Even after a few lessons, I realized he had a lot of talent and tremendous potential. But the music business is not for the faint of heart. There was no doubt he would be a great musician, but I worried he may be seduced by dark forces if not guided to stay on a righteous path. You see, although I am in a business filled with temptations, I have never given in. To this day, I have never been drunk nor have I engaged in any drug use. My belief in the Lord has kept me moving in the right direction. And as a music teacher, I believe I have a responsibility to teach my students not just about theory and notes, but also about how to conduct themselves professionally and develop good character. This meant showing up on time, learning the music, and treating people the way you would like to be treated.
In my role as teacher, I experience great pride in watching my students’ music career take off, especially the one student I mentioned above. When he was an up-and-coming musician, I allowed him to sit in with bands that I was playing in. They were usually low-pressure situations. Maybe a song or two at a local bar on a Monday night. This is when there would be a small audience. By doing this, I allowed him to feel what it felt like to play with other professional musicians and how to interact with people in a social setting.
Years went by, and my student went on to great things. He performed with multiple bands every week, making a living by playing music. So, I was surprised when he called me out of the blue, crying his eyes out one day. I asked him what was wrong. He was so emotional, it was hard to hear his first few sentences through his weeping. He had auditioned for a band that was starting to make a name for themselves. He got called back three times, and it came down to him and another musician. They ended up picking the latter. He felt nothing but dismay, even going as far as telling me he wanted to quit music altogether. As soon as I heard him say that, I went into super mentor mode. I told him, "You're upset because YOUR plan was to get the gig with this band. What you need to do is believe in God's plan. He will have bigger things in store for you. All you need to do is believe in him and trust him." I then told him this reminded me of Ephesians 1: 3: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.” I told him that he thought being blessed was to be given the gig, but the real blessing was the talent he had been given. This changed his perspective on the spot.
Two months later, he called me elated. He had been given the gig with Australia's number one pop singer. She was off to do a major tour of Europe, and if he had gotten the gig with the band he auditioned for two months prior, he would not have been able to do this major tour. I was ecstatic for him. He told me he wouldn't doubt God's plan again; only the Lord could make his destiny unfold in positive ways he couldn't imagine.
A year went by, and I didn't hear from my student. The next time I heard his name come up, however, was at a rehearsal for a charity gig. This event was to help raise money for children in need. It's important to note that I wasn't being paid to perform at this event.
The following week, my student sent me a message saying he was confused about why I was performing at the charity event. He then told me they asked him to perform, but he refused as he would not be paid for his performance. I told him that he was looking at the situation with blinders on again. I felt the best way to explain was to reference Romans 8:28 as I interpret it: God works for our good in all things and in a few different ways. I told my student to not focus on the money as it was only one performance out of so many. If we gave a great performance, we would add to the amount of money raised to help sick children who desperately needed our God-given talent to help their circumstance. There was no price we could put on that kind of opportunity. I also said giving our talents and time to this situation was giving back to God, a form of praise and worship. He blessed us with our talents, not just to benefit ourselves, but to help others.
I believe the role of a Christian mentor is ongoing, and it’s important to consider our role in the salvation of others. I believe this student of mine will always be a student, no matter how successful he becomes, because just as we are an ongoing masterpiece of God, we, too, must continuously mold one another to help build his kingdom.
Image artwork by Magesh.
Magesh has written for “Lessonface,” “Aeyons,” “The Modern Rogue,” “Euronews,” “The Roland corporation,” “Penlight,” and “Elite Music.” He writes several monthly publications on music education. In the past, Magesh has written for parenting, humor, mental health, and travel websites as well.