Throughout out my years in church, I would often hear organists, pianist and keyboard players yell to their accompanying drummers, “STAY IN THE POCKET!” By giving this command the lead musician would be instructing the drummer to stay in time, stay on beat and maintain the rythm. I might age myself by saying this, but my experience in hearing this directive predates microphoned drums, over-the-ear or in ear monitors, plexiglass enclosures, and even before drummers had a floor monitor or speaker facing them to aide them in hearing the other musicians. Therefore these young percussionists (mostly young males) would bear the weight of carrying the timing, drive and rythm of the sound that both orchestrated and interpretated the atmosphere of the worship experience. They had to fulfill this task while receiving death glares from the choir director daring them to mess up, competing against the sound of the other instruments, and hearing the blend and direction of the music over the shouts and screams of those who were spiritually and emotionally overtaken in the moment.
This feat was virtually impossible for the young musicians, but as I continued in churchanity I would behold these musical wonders and noticed something very remarkable. Those drummers who would ignore the choir director, intellectually drown out the sounds of the shouts and other musicians and focus on the rythmic body language, hand signals and silent speech of their ministers of music, are the ones who could skillfully and successfully “stay in the pocket”.
As men we are challenged with perspectives that threaten us on a daily basis as we carry out our purpose. Sometimes we tempted to compete with principles and people, such as belief systems, morals, spouses, children, other races and nationalities, coworkers, false expectations and systemic disturbances. We work hard to drown out the sound of emotional and spiritual voices that can easily distract us. In the midst of all of this we are bearing the weight of maintaining the timing of provision, the drive of security and protection and the cadence of purpose.
This all seems virtually impossible. Yet we can find courage to navigate through the skill of “staying in the pocket” when we look in the scripture and see the words of Jehoshaphat as he was being surrounded by threats, distractions and competition. Jehoshaphat gathered all of the men together and prayed a prayer that culminated in the words “Lord Our Eyes Are On YOU.” (II Chronicles 20:12d)
As men, we must learn to drown out distracting sounds and voices, stop competing and start collaborating, and overcome the threats to our purpose by intensively fixing our eyes on the Great Composer of the songs of our lives; paying close attention to His direction, His pace and His words. When we are fixated on Christ, He alone gives us the ability to navigate through crescendos and modulations of life, because He is the Master Conductor who skillfully and effectively orchestrates our lives and teaches us how to “Stay In The Pocket”.