[guestpost]Today I’m posting a blog from a longtime friend, Shirley Wilson. She’s very music smart – very! – and, therefore, able to “see” the analogy she writes about. Because I’m also music smart, I enjoyed her blog immensely. Will you? It might depend upon how music smart you are. If it’s not in your top four, you might not have been able to think of what she did. This is also why you might actually enjoy it quite a bit. Where I enjoyed it because it made total sense, you might enjoy it because it challenges your thinking. Check it out. (This was originally posted on her blog on February 2, 2015.) – Kathy[/guestpost]

A Choice Instrument by Shirley Wilson

“So whoever cleanses himself [from what
is ignoble and unclean, who separates
himself from contact with contaminating
and corrupting influences] will [then
himself] be a vessel set apart and useful
for honorable and noble purposes,
consecrated and profitable to the
Master, fit and ready for any good work.”
—2 Timothy 2:21 Amplified Bible

Since I began playing piano at age six, I have had opportunity to play on hundreds of instruments. I have played on pianos with sticking keys, with wildly out-of-tune strings, and even some pianos that leaned to one side like a sinking ship. Often, someone at the venue housing the piano will remark, “Well, it’s better than nothing!” Though I understand that person’s somewhat apologetic sentiment, frankly I’m not too certain that’s true.

Other pianos I’ve played do the job quite well in a utilitarian kind of way. They may sound in-tune, be fairly regulated (a piano technician’s term for how evenly the hammers produce sound), and play loud and clear enough for accompanying.

But, less frequently I have had the opportunity to play on an unusually fine instrument: built well, maintained well, placed well in a good acoustical environment, even beautiful to look at. What a difference for a trained musician who listens for nuance of dynamics, beauty and warmth of tone, crisp response time, and reliability for every style of playing.

I can remember when I turned from a fairly good technical player into a musician. My college professor had given me a key to her studio and allowed me to practice frequently on her Steinway grand piano. All the technical exercises, the hard listening and careful pedaling paid off. That piano allowed me to fully express all that I possessed of work and talent to play the music on the page.

God has chosen us as His superb instruments for honorable and noble purposes. Just as one who knew young King David said of him in 1 Samuel 16:18:

“He is a brave man and a warrior. He speaks well and is a fine-looking man. And the Lord is with him.”

So, God wants us to exhibit the qualities of a masterful servant.

Similarly, the Lord spoke of the Apostle Paul in Acts 9:15:

“This man is my chosen instrument.”

Though we may not have the influence of a King David or a St. Paul, God has still purposefully chosen us to represent Him, to carry out noble tasks, to give full expression—like a fine Steinway—to the purpose that He has for us.

The qualifying words in our theme verse at the beginning of this blog post tell us that, in order to offer ourselves to God, we must cleanse ourselves from the unclean things, and separate ourselves from evil influences. “Holiness” is the theological term for this. It sounds stuffy and unattainable, but God expects all of us who carry His name—we whom He has specifically chosen—to live holy lives in order to carry out noble purposes.

What a high calling He has given us! May the “music” we make with our obedient lives glorify Him to the fullest.

[callout]ShirleyWilsonShirley Wilson is a retired public school music teacher who lives in Erie, PA. She currently serves at Redeemer Presbyterian Church (EPC) as church organist, Secretary of the church Leadership Team, and provides leadership for the women’s ministries of the church. In addition, she teaches elementary-age music to a homeschool cooperative, serves as Membership Chair of the UPMC Hamot Aid Society, offers her services to schools and churches as a children’s music consultant, and writes for her blog: http://musingsinamajorkey.blogspot.com/[/callout]