Is something missing?

It was 3:30pm on what had been, up until then, a rather unremarkable Tuesday afternoon when I received the phone call. ‘‘We have a project that we might be interested in using your songs for over here in the States,’’ said the caller. Trying to sound relaxed, but with a growing sense of urgency, I quickly scrawled down the address in Nashville where the record executive wanted my CD demo to be delivered. ‘‘If it could be done promptly, that would be great,’’ he said.

This was terrific news for me. The market in the USA for worship music is huge and the opportunities and increased profile for my ministry could be very worthwhile if my songs were accepted. It was a priority – something to be done straight away! Hastily I compiled a CD (this was before the days of Dropbox and high speed internet connections!) containing of a selection of my songs I thought would be of interest, opened up a new jiffy bag, slotted the CD case inside, wrote down the address, bought the stamps and popped it into the post box . . . done! I noticed on the post box that there were still ten minutes to go before collection time. ‘‘Job well done,’’ I thought. My mind swirling with grand illusions of the widespread approval my songs would receive across ‘‘the pond’’ and the resulting increase in influence that would follow (yes, it does happen to worship leaders as well!) I strolled back to my house.

Back inside I decided to break for a well-earned cup of coffee when I spotted, to my horror, the newly burned CD of songs, minus its case, lying on the kitchen table. Shock! It should have been nestling safely in its jiffy bag in the post box, but I had forgotten to actually put the thing in its case! Glancing at my watch I abandoned my coffee, scooped up the CD and was off at a sprint back to the post box. I arrived in time, caught my breath and tried not to look too embarrassed as the postman arrived and I sheepishly informed him of my predicament, meekly requesting my package back so that I could insert the all-important CD.

In short, the packaging was right, but something was very wrong inside – the most important ingredient was missing. It looked fine from the outside, but it wasn’t going to be of much use to anyone in Nashville!

Incidentally, the songs were eventually rejected for the project, but the whole episode served as a valuable lesson for me in how we can overlook the essence of the message we are seeking to communicate and become obsessed with all the ‘‘packaging’’ that goes with it.