There is a reason I do not listen to lyrical music while doing homework.

I adore music as much as anyone, and believe the perfect song enhances any moment. I have learned that I cannot simply hear a song without attentively listening to it and making its lyrics my own thoughts. When music plays, I tend to hone in on the poetry within the sounds and lose track of what I happen to be doing.

This week, in an act of professional procrastination I turned on a Spotify station while trying to tackle some homework. I really should have known this wasn’t conducive to my ideal study atmosphere, but I found some way to justify it. While I was in the midst of typing out a thesis statement, Jon Foreman’s voice inconveniently propelled itself out of my speakers, grabbed me by the face and demanded my full attention. For the next three to five minutes, I knew that my homework would just have to wait.

The words that captured and interrupted my thought were “Put the God badge down and love someone. / Love alone was yours to carry, you can lay your gavel down… / There is no us or them, only people you do or don’t understand / Just put your God badge down and love someone.”

Talk about a pause for conviction.

The song I stumbled upon was the aptly named “God Badge” by Fiction Family. Jon Foreman heads up the duo in this song, and as we know from his solo work and work with Switchfoot, he is a smart lyricist who proves to exhort followers of Christ to a more reckless abandon in pursuit of Him.

This song directly addresses the command for Christians to lay down their pride and personal agendas and carry out the purposes to which we are called. I can only imagine Jesus saying something similar to the Pharisees who shunned opportunities for service to make more room for themselves on their pedestals. He gave his life to serve and save other people, and he made disciples whom he asked to do the same. Jesus proved that he cared little for the outward appearance and shiny visage of religiosity. He looked inward and found worth in those who loved and served purely for his Father’s namesake.

I’ll confess that after this song was over, I immediately hit repeat, grabbed a journal and spent time in thought rather than finishing my homework right away. Sometimes this is necessary, and schedules occasionally have to be modified and interrupted.

While looking through the Gospels and dwelling on these lyrics, I thought of how perfectly these ideas apply to events occurring in my life at the moment. I’m in the midst of experiencing ISP training, and my team and I have spent a lot of time recently focusing on the purposes of our trip. We have come to the conclusions that all people are image bearers of God and are, therefore, sacred beings. While we are going to experience a completely different culture, we recognize that the differences are not important, and we are bent on showing the non partiality of Christ through the way that we shamelessly love on them. There really are no boundaries in the Kingdom, and all should experience the love that Christ showed us. This is something to apply in our everyday lives as we go through work, class, and whatever else, as well as to bring over to an overseas experience.

Music this week served not only as a time consumer for me, but a priceless reminder to carry throughout my day. While life has picked up and commitments are demanding, remember to treat others as sacred and love them the way Jesus showed us. Thanks for sticking with me, readers. I’ll see you next time.