Tuesday, December 11, 2012

If you're playing to an empty balcony


I sing with a symphony chorus. In preparation for our recent Christmas concert, we had our usual dress rehearsal to run through the entire program.

As we sang the moving lyrics of “O, Holy Night,” I looked up into the empty balconies of the concert hall and grew sad there was no one to hear the lovely music. But, in that moment, I sensed the Lord speaking.

In life, God sometimes calls us to minister and pour forth in ways that go unnoticed to others. Some of our finest hours are our most unseen. But it’s not about others’ applause; it’s about pleasing the one who called us to be His hands and feet in this world. Though it may seem that we are playing to the empty balconies, that no one else notices, He notices.

For some, it may be giving ongoing care to a loved one who never expresses gratitude. For another, God may call for a financial sacrifice in order to meet another’s need. Still another may be asked to give time and talents away in a small place to few recipients. God might ask us to overcome an offense by reaching down deep in the wells of His grace and extending that grace in love and forgiveness. The morning paper may not report on any of these events, but as a friend of mine says, God keeps very good books.

Some years ago, Max Lucado wrote a wonderful work about the Beatitudes entitled, The Applause of Heaven. In it he quotes Matthew 5:12, “Great,’ Jesus said, ‘is your reward in heaven.” Lucado continues, “He must have smiled when he said that line. His eyes must have danced, and his hand must have pointed skyward. For he should know. It was his idea. It was his home.…Before you know it, your appointed arrival time will come; you’ll descend the ramp and enter the City. You’ll see faces that are waiting for you. You’ll hear your name spoken by those who love you.”

I’m back to a verse I referenced a few posts ago—I Corinthians 15:58: “Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”

As you give yourself without reservation to Him and allow Him to make His music through you, know that beyond the empty balconies. He waits to reward you.

Lucado concludes, “And maybe, just maybe—in the back, behind the crowds—the One who would rather die than live without you will remove his pierced hands from his heavenly robe and … applaud.”

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