First of all, who is the choir? Generally when someone says, "I know I'm preaching to the choir," they are speaking to a group of people who are assumed to be the faithful or loyal to the cause. The choir is often the group of people who comes in early to rehearse and hears all the cues and knows what will be spoken and get a "behind the scenes" look of things. Do those things in themselves qualify one as holy? Do they make one guiltless and sinless? Who is the choir? The choir is me in many instances, and I'm sure most people can put themselves in the category of "choir" in many circumstances.
There are times when we think being in the choir is a ticket to exemption from a message or a point. One might think, "certainly this is for someone else." Often when a minister or speaker is sharing his/her heart and pouring out a message that was given to them by Holy Spirit, they ask of the listeners to search themselves. I experienced that this morning in our church service. My initial thought was, "I think I'm good in that area." He asked for a response from the congregation and very few outwardly responded. He asked that even if you don't have this conviction, please respond so that those who respond don't feel alone. Still, very little response. God put a message on this man's heart and he shared it with the passion that God put there. Was he just preaching to the choir?
While I don't presume to know the hearts of man, I doubt that there were only a small percentage who should have responded. Why are we so immovable? Why are we so apathetic? The Spirit is moving and we must respond and remove ourselves from an "exempt" status to a "vulnerable" status. Our mindsets must move from, "It's not me!" to "Lord, search me and show me."
Here's an example direct from the "choir." As a team of worshipers, we were required to file music at the end of each encounter. Different people would do it, but there were only 6 of us. Somehow, the music was not in alphabetical order every time. All of us are intelligent women. All of us know how to file music, but somehow, it wasn't always done correctly and all of us complained. The interesting part is that none of us were the one who filed incorrectly. Apparently at least one of us made a mistake now and again. I suspect that each of us made a mistake, but none were willing to admit it. (If you are one of the 6 reading this, please know that it is not accusation, but observations from my perspective. I love you guys and if the alphabetizing is perfect now that I'm gone, I guess I was the only culprit.)
Apply this to the choir. Obviously when God gives a message to one of His messengers, it is for all those who have an ear to hear. Often when I have delivered a message to a congregation or to a small group, God meant it for me first, but wouldn't have burdened me with it further if it were not meant to be shared. I don't want to have an apathetic heart. I don't want to be unmoved when God speaks. I don't expect that every person should outwardly respond to every altar call or every challenge from a pulpit. I do expect that even the elect, the choir, the elders, the congregation, the leadership whatever name you give to it must first examine themselves and respond as God would have them respond.
Perhaps I have it all wrong. Perhaps I am the only one who immediately thinks of someone else when I hear a challenging message. Perhaps each person responded in their heart even though the Pastor implored us to move forward in response. That is not my place to judge and I hope I am not being judgmental. I just noticed my own apathy and non-response when I should have responded. The reward for response was His freedom! I couldn't ask for much more than that.
God has given us an opportunity to hear His message. He has sent an invitation, "Come." Just as when we each receive an invitation to a party or celebration. The same invitation is given to each invitee, the host doesn't beg for each guest to come. In fact in a parable Jesus told, the "choir" or "choice guests" all had excuses why they couldn't attend the wedding and their invitations were given to those on the street. I just don't want to miss my invitation again.