December 11, 2020
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Our son-in-law's piano recital was like his final exam. He was a music major in college, and his recital was an important part of his finishing well. I taught him all I knew about playing the piano, of course, which was how to find "middle C." Actually, he had become an accomplished musician - something that was evident to everybody who attended that senior recital - Including us. At the end, there was quite a line of people congratulating him on his great performance. But strangely, there was no one complimenting the piano, "Wonderful concert, Mr. Steinway. You are awesome." No, it was only the one who played the music that deserved the praise.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Getting in on What God is Doing."
Yes, the piano played an important part in the recital, but it was only an instrument. So am I. So are you. Just listen to our word for today from the Word of God in Philippians 2:13 "For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose." Key words: "It is God"! Any good work we do is really God doing it through us, not us doing it for God. You and I? We're just instruments.
The prophet Isaiah put it this way: "All that we have accomplished You have done for us." The first-century believers in Corinth were choosing up sides based on whether they liked Paul or Apollos best. Paul said to them: "What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe, as the Lord has assigned to each his task" (1 Corinthians 3:5). See, all praise goes to the artist, not to the instrument.
It is God. We speak the words He gives us, we serve in the power He provides, and we go through doors He has opened. What does that mean in practical terms? There's no room for conceit, there's no room for boasting, there's no room for retreat. At the point where you're starting to get a little inflated, slightly impressed with yourself, remember the words of one of God's greatest instruments, Paul. "What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?" (1 Corinthians 4:7)
The test of your ability to be trusted by God with exploits for Him is who they're thinking about when you're done. Are they saying, "He/she is a great speaker, a great worker, a great leader, a great musician." Or are they saying, "He has/she has a great Savior." You're only the piano. You have no business stealing glory from the artist who just played His music through you. There's no excuse for conceit.
But there's also no excuse for retreat, as in saying, "I'm inadequate to do what I've been asked to do for the Lord. I'm not up to it." That's retreating from an assignment your Lord is calling you to take. But since when is it about you anyway? It's about what He can do, not what you can do! Paul said, "Not that we are competent in ourselves ... but our competence comes from God. He made us competent..." (2 Corinthians 3:5-6). You can dare to step up to that challenge that's too big for you because you are only an instrument.
The one thing you can do is to make sure you're tuned up so He can play His music through you. Paul said a person who cleanses himself will "be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work" (2 Timothy 2:21). Okay, so here's your job description: stay pure and show up! You're the glove. You're not the hand. You're the instrument, not the artist.
But with God playing through you, your life can touch countless others with His music. Conceit - pride - will disqualify you; retreat will let fear keep you from the thrill of God working through you. Surrender to your Lord to be His instrument for His purposes and watch what He does with your life!