This site is dedicated to the people with a passion for music. The people who have been playing, singing, and writing songs for thirty, forty, or fifty years and continue to bring joy to everyone through the gift of music.
Click on each person's photo for their story.
Genesis 4:21 mentions a man named Jubal. He was the son a Lamech and Adah. The Bible describes him as the father of all who play the harp and flute. It is hard to tell if he was the first to invent musical instruments, the first to play professionally, or just a key figure in the history of music. What we do know is that he was the first person mentioned in ancient history with some sort of a passion for music.
Genesis 4 also mentions his brother, Jabal, as the father of those who live in tents and raise livestock, and another brother, Tubal-Cain, as the father of those who work with bronze and iron. It would not take much interpretation to say that rancher, metal worker, and musician are the first three professions clearly spelled out in the Bible. A few verses later the scripture says that “ at that time men began to call on the name of the Lord.” Worship of God was closely associated with music from the beginning.
It also appears that these three professions provide for some clearly basic needs of people. The rancher raises food, the metal worker makes tools, equipment, and decorative ideas for pleasure; while the musician connects with our emotions and provides the pleasure needed after working cattle, providing food, and working with tools all day.
In Genesis 31, when Jacob was fleeing Laban, his father-in-law (and uncle.) Laban caught up with him and scolded him saying, “ Why did you run off secretly and deceive me? Why didn't you tell me, so I could send you away with joy and singing to the music of tambourines and harps?” Hey, if knew he was leaving he would have hired a band.
The point is music dates back to the earliest days of mankind. It has been used to worship God, celebrate special occasions, heal wounds, bring down walls, and lift spirits. In I Samuel 16, King Saul falls into a depression and he calls for his counselors to find him a good harp player to cheer him up. David is summoned and plays so beautifully that the King’s spirits are restored. It turns out that even ancient Kings liked to hear some blues and David becomes a permanent fixture in the Kings court. David goes on the write the definitive hymn book called the Book of Psalms.
In the New Testament, Paul consistently challenges us to worship God with “psalm, hymns, and spiritual songs.” Rather than defining each style, let’s just say that we should play and sing all kinds of music to God and all kinds of music to each other.
It is clear from the book of Genesis on, that God made everybody to be different. Cain raised crops and Abel tended flocks. God made some of us to be work with animals, other to work with numbers, some to work with pictures, and some with sounds. Every person is different and designed for a purpose by our Creator.
We may call these differences a calling, a gift, a talent, a knack, or just an inclination, but clearly God had something in mind when he made us. For some of us the desire to make music is so strong that it extends throughout our entire lives and affects everything we do. I would call that “The Gift of Music.” (Some might call it a curse, but I wouldn’t.) I don’t think it is a spiritual gift of the type mentioned in I Corinthians 12. Music is so important that if were a spiritual gift such as healing, prophecy, teaching, mercy, etc. Paul would have put music in the list with capital letters. Instead, it is not mentioned in this passage. I think, rather, music should be listed among the great passions and pursuits of life.
For one thing, the Spirit doesn’t just come over us and one day we can play. It takes practice and work to become proficient, even for the most naturally gifted.
One concern is young people who show tremendous musical skills and promise, but stop playing and singing after college, as they become distracted by the routine of a job, mortgage, and the daily pressures of life. Our society is not at all kind to artists of any kind.
But some don’t get distracted. A very few make a living playing music, but a few more continue their passion as a hobby, part-time job, or church musician. These are the heroes. The people who keep practicing, keep playing, and keep singing because God gave them a desire to do so. They know the chances of having a hit record are slim to none, but they keep bringing joy to those fortunate enough to hear them at a coffeehouse, at a church dinner, or pick-up their CD in the narthex of the church after a Sunday evening concert.
The tradition goes back to “our father” Jabal. We are an old and noble tribe.
All photos and stories are by Jim Mathis
Click on photos at right