Wednesday, July 24, 2002

When you're a senior in a conservatory of music, your final college exam isn't about essay questions, reading reports, or true-or-false questions. It's about performing. And when our son-in-law was completing his college music major, that meant the pressure of his senior piano recital. Seated at a grand piano that night, all decked out in his tux, he dazzled the audience with his performances of sacred music and classical music and popular music - even original music he had written. Afterwards, there was a long line of people standing in line to congratulate him. Interestingly enough, not one person congratulated the piano!

I'm Ron Hutchcraft, and I want to have A Word With You today about "Only An Instrument."

Now, everyone at that recital realized that it wasn't the piano that deserved the congratulations that night. It was the one who played his music through the piano!

Our word for today from the Word of God comes from the last chapter of Scripture the Apostle Paul ever wrote. It's from 2 Timothy 4:17, probably written from a Roman prison cell shortly before Paul's death. It is, in a sense, his reflection on his whole life's work - an amazing life's work. Here's what he said. "The Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles (all the unreached people) might hear it." I'm struck by those two little words - "through me." Notice he doesn't say "By me the message was proclaimed." No, it's "through me."

Paul says that with all those churches that were started, all those converts, all those inspired letters, all those powerful sermons, he was just an instrument - like that piano at our son-in-law's recital. It's just a piece of furniture; it produces no music by itself. It's only an instrument. It can play Gospel, it can play jazz, pop, patriotic, romantic, but the piano doesn't decide what it will play. The music is not from the piano. It's not by the piano. It's through the piano!

Without the maestro, the instrument is useless. But then so are you and I. God has designed you for some very special purposes. But if you try to make the music yourself, you'll be useless. When you realize that you're only an instrument, some really good things start to happen.

First, you can relax and realize you can make a difference because it isn't about your ability or your personality or your training. You just let the Master Musician pick you up and use you.

Secondly, when you realize that you're just His instrument, you stop telling the Master what tune you think you should be playing. You let the Master pick the tune.

And, when you know you're an instrument, you keep the credit where it belongs, knowing that God's work is through you, not from you. Which means that every time God uses you, you are just continually amazed that it's you. And you're continually expectant that He's going to work through you this very day. Yes, you are only an instrument. But in the hands of the Master Musician, your life can produce music that will touch hearts wherever you go.



Hutchcraft Ministries
P.O. Box 400
Harrison, AR 72602-0400

(870) 741-3300
(877) 741-1200 (toll-free)
(870) 741-3400 (fax)


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