Last weekend I had the opportunity of attending a concert, conducted by a friend of mine. It was an interesting experience.
Interesting because I love the music I had gone to hear; interesting because it was hard for me to focus on enjoying the music. I felt so badly for my friend… You see, my friend had an orchestra in which a few people felt they knew better than the conductor. I’ve heard that example used in sermons in the past, but to hear it with my own ears was, well, painful.
Imagine if you can:
- One violin just slightly out of tune.
- A new musician showing up with no time to practice and little experience.
- A musician tuning his instrument in the middle of a piece.
- The conductor directing the starting note, and no one comes in, then this sudden lagged sound as one by one the instruments start playing, not in unison.
- A tempo that started briskly and then starts to lag, with the conductor moving and waving his wand in vain.
Later that evening, we asked my friend what he said to the orchestra afterwards.
“Nothing,” he said. “What could I say at this point?”
And that really stunned me. I would have been furious. I would have told them they embarrassed themselves and me, and made the other musicians miserable. I would have asked them, “Did someone pay you to play this badly?”
My friend was so discouraged, and not looking forward to the next performance, now less than 24 hours away. I shared with him, that I still found something positive in all this, and that was his godly attitude in handling it all, and that it served as a reminder to me of how patient God is with us, as well as a very vivid example of how importance unity in the body is.
But the real lesson came the next night. I was told, “It was like a different orchestra. They were great, and everyone performed so much better. It was wonderful.”
And I saw God’s fingerprint all over again. You see, most of the time, we know when we’ve blown it. And God, the perfect conductor doesn’t yell, or chide, or condemn. But He does grieve over the disharmony in our lives. God sees and hears the chaos resulting from our sin, and how it impacts those around us. We only see and hear what is relevant to ourselves, and to be truthful, it doesn’t look that bad from our seats. But when our sin has a visible impact that we can see… we get the message.
The orchestra got the message. They played in unity. Each member uniquely different, playing according to the conductor’s rhythm, not their own. And in doing so, they enabled each other, and the singers to further excel. In honoring the Conductor, and bringing him “glory,” each member was honored. But the orchestra had to repent and choose to follow the Conductor.
Sound familiar? As we approach 2012, may we each keep our eyes fixed on our perfect conductor, Jesus, and follow Him through all the rhythms of life.