“Little Richie Mullins”

That’s what my buddy Jon and I called him to our youth group. We were at a week long youth camp in Colorado and we had gotten word that CCM Artist Rich Mullins would be performing. A little back story: Jon and I grew up going to church together and both play guitar. We would often pull out guitars and jam and we both were excited to see what the concert would hold in store. We were also both idiots (and still are at least sometimes). You know, a youth leaders nightmare, never serious when they wanted us to be and usually making comments off topic during a lesson. Pretty much typical Sr. High Youth! So we coined him “Little Richie Mullins” as if we had known him from when he was little and would always be that “little guy” to us. But really he was a big deal to us.

We saw a rental truck backed up to the gymnasium where our evening events were held and a bunch of guys were unloading gear. We wandered over and one of them mentioned if we wanted to come by during sound check Rich would probably hang out and talk with us. So we cut out of our afternoon class early making some excuse to the teacher about how our Youth Minister needed us to assist him with something, (by the look on the teacher’s face we didn’t sell it well), and went over to the gymnasium to hang out. There was a million instruments on the stage and everyone in the band was a multi-instrumentalist and they were good. We were definitely taking the whole scene in as we sat in the chairs in front of the state. We saw an 8 string guitar and said to each other, I wonder what that is and heard someone say, oh, that’s a mando-cello. We looked and sure enough, Rich Mullins had sat down with us and was chiming in on our convo. We were stunned. I don’t remember much else from our informal conversation but it wasn’t long and he was back on stage for sound check.

Funny how tonight as I came across a video on YouTube of Rich in concert (forgetting the words to “The Love of God”) I was instantly filled with a similar respect and awe for this guy. If you haven’t heard much about Rich Mullins he was a very successful Christian Artist but didn’t live like it. He had a board of directors who received the funds from his record sales, paid him a small salary (I think I heard around 22,000.00) and donated the rest. He lived on a reservation and ministered to the Indian population when he wasn’t on the road. I found myself immediately convicted and asking questions like: “Why don’t I dig deeper in my relationship with God like this guy does?”. “Why do I spend so much time trying to convince myself I’m ok when duh, I’m not.” Honestly, I would much easier accept a gospel that tells me God kinda loves me but is really looking forward to when I’m completely sanctified and more loveable. This is a powerless gospel and completely untrue.

I’m convinced I rob myself of the power of God’s love everyday...at least a little. I spend so much time trying to justify myself and that I’m doing better than yesterday or that I know I need to do things I specifically feel led to do and will, when I have time, later. In a moment of brutal honesty I must call this what it is...deception. (Personal confession) I have allowed myself to become so numb to daily life and the grind that most of the time I’m in survival mode and my life has become a list of tasks I need to accomplish today to get to tomorrow to accomplish those tasks. Wow. This is not what we’re called to. We’re called to a passionate relationship with the One who made us and knows us better than we know ourselves. We’re called to rest in a grace and love so much greater than anything we’ve known and if we can muster up a mustard seeds worth of faith in this it could move a mountain. When Rich would talk at his concerts you’d often see his eyes start watering, something just welled up in him as he would talk about Jesus. The love of God just overwhelmed this guy. When is the last time I was overwhelmed?

If you’ve come out to one of my shows before you’ve probably heard me talk about my return to writing songs and how I set out to not write Christian songs because I felt like that was just my default (I’m sure God got a good chuckle). As it turned out the first song I wrote was a song called Sustainer and it talks about how God has been with me through all the good and bad. I guess I was being ridiculous looking back. Songwriters are transparent, there’s no way God would not come through in any song I write. So this is what I will say: 1. I will be reevaluating the way I have been living my life and as convicted I will boldly make changes. 2. I will begin pursuing God with more dedication than I’ve ever had before. 3. I will take every opportunity I am given to share my testimony and the songs God has given me.

May God stir us all to grow deeper in relationship with Him and seek to better understand his immeasurable love for us.

Blessings,

Matt

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