A young teenage friend recently asked me if she’d ever be able to play the piano in our church.
‘You’ll really develop as you learn.’ I said. ‘I had to start somewhere too’.
‘But you have a gift’, she said.
‘I was eight when I went to my first piano lesson’, I replied. ‘I had no idea about a gift. I didn’t even think about it!’
We don’t have to be prodigies to be achievers. Most of the time, things just happen along the way. I’ve had many encouragers: teachers, givers of wisdom and words of appreciation. It makes such a difference to know that someone’s been blessed by the music I play.
Long ago I made a list in my head of all the new things I’d learnt since Maurie and I were married. There was at least one for every year! “Learning to be a wife” was on there; that’s still on-going! Nervously attending my first writing class was another. I’ll also remember my first sermon; it lasted ten minutes!
I won’t bore you with the complete list, but if you want to compile your own, you’ll soon see how many of these lessons prepare us for future tasks. If I’d sat down many years ago and written a list for the future, I wouldn’t have chosen most of the items.
I was hopeless in school sewing lessons. I’m embarrassed about the awkward-looking matinee jacket I handed over for a neighbour’s new baby. I wonder what she did with it! And I’m sure my mother dreaded the words, ‘I’ve dropped another stitch’, as once again I presented her with the holey yellow face-washer I was knitting! And art was my worst subject at school.
When we’re learning to do ordinary activities we’re not dwelling on future glory and we rarely think about the way God is standing by and helping us. Learning to knit and crochet, write stories, lead a discussion group and preach; to type, make pressed-flower pictures, run a crèche or use a computer may seem like things that wouldn’t catch God’s attention. But he has a special list of good things he wants each one of us to do. He’s interested in them all and he wants to share his happiness and joy as he sees us fulfilling them!
God planned for us to do good things and to live as he always wanted us to live. That’s why he sent Christ to make us what we are. ~ Ephesians 2:10 (Contemporary English Version of the Bible)
For instance, persevering on my mother’s old treadle sewing machine eventually led to making my daughter’s wedding dress. I knew it was all worthwhile when I saw how beautiful she looked in it!
Although I’ve never mastered sports like table-tennis and the craft of tatting’s eluded me, I have plenty of other things that I enjoy. My days are full and I believe I’ll always be learning something new. We’re moving house soon and God’s going to be involved when I design the new bathroom. What if I didn’t want to learn anything new? How boring my life would be!
Remember my young friend? I know that one day she will play the piano in church. I’m praying for her and I know God has a plan for her life as he has for mine.