“I am going to give you a gift and as with all gifts, it is yours to do with as you wish. It has the power to give you great joy. It might take you places, it might give you great rewards and great understanding. If you figure out the best way to use it, that which is its true purpose, you will be forever blessed.”
Stacey loved to sing. She was very affected by music. It got inside of her so much that sometimes she couldn’t focus on anything else. She did not make it a career choice, she had been encouraged to be more pragmatic about a career, but music continued to bless her.
She sought out a place where she could use her talent - her ‘gift’ as some called it - and found herself at church. There, she’d peruse the bulletin to see what hymns were being sung and wait expectantly, happily for each one. Then she’d sing out with joy, soaring and touching on the high notes as a graceful bird might soar on the winds.
Often heads would turn to see whose voice poured out behind them. She loved that, who wouldn’t? Once though, a whole family that was seated in the pew ahead of her got up and moved to another pew immediately after the singing of the first hymn. Their maneuver made her smile inwardly; she was not blind to that family’s desire for attention at church. They would not like to ‘share the spotlight’, with Stacey or with anyone.
Weeks turned into months and Stacey was doubly, even thrice rewarded for singing at church. Once, because she plainly loved it. Second, the choir director wanted her, but the other reward was by far the greatest. She had begun to be encouraged, motivated, even challenged by the sermons she heard.
At first she’d thought the whole ‘Christian’ thing was too good, too clean and pure for her. To be that close to God through Jesus? That was not possible for one such as herself. She knew she couldn’t clean up herself, her life, enough.
But the music lured her in and she kept going back.
By then she was a member of the choir. She learned about the notes on the pages, the timing, keys and repeats. She learned about breathing. She learned not to slide from note to note, to not pronounce ‘r’s at the end of sung syllables and not to lend to a chorus of hissing ‘s’s.
If she’d sung well before, now she was better, guided by a master.
Then she learned something much more amazing. She learned that it wasn’t just the choir director who wanted her.
What a joyful, joy-filled beginning when she prayed the sinner’s prayer and accepted Jesus’s free gifts of forgiveness and eternal life.
What release, what rest, what peace!
Then she learned something else. The attention she’d craved and adored did not belong to her. She must give it to the Giver of the gift. This was very hard.
Was not she, Stacey, the one practicing, learning, standing in front of everyone (alone sometimes)? She deserved some glory for her ability to transform notes on a page into beautiful sounds. It was her time, her courage, her lungs, her voice - wasn’t it?
No sooner had she thought these thoughts than the truth came to her. Another had thought thoughts and even prayed a prayer similar to those thoughts. He had given His time, His courage, His lungs, His voice, even His life. He’d stood alone to transform not notes, but people. Yet He’d asked for and received no glory.
Filled with awe and respect, Stacey was humbled. He’d given all. He’d loved to the point of suffering a cruel death, for her and for everyone. Then he’d given to her something special.
She doesn’t know why she was gifted but she knows from whom her gift came. She knows it is an honor to be a vessel blessed to carry such a gift. She is continuously blessed to use her gift for the furtherance of His kingdom and to His glory.
Amen and amen.
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