Finishing the course

Dr. Marc Drake, Sr. Pastor, Sun Lakes Baptist Church

Perhaps you’ve seen the TV commercial where the young boy hops up on the concert stage and begins playing Chopsticks on the grand piano. His stunned parents are embarrassed and don’t quite know what to do. But then the performer comes out and begins playing alongside of the boy and encouraging him in the process. Well, it’s not just a commercial. That actually happened many years ago when the famous composer-pianist Ignacy Jan Paderewski (born in 1860 and at one time the Prime Minister of Poland) was scheduled to perform at a great concert hall in America. It was a high society evening, replete with black tuxedos and long evening dresses.

Present in the audience was a mother with her nine-year old son – hoping that he would be encouraged to practice the piano if he could just hear the immortal Paderewski play. But while they were waiting for the concert to begin, the boy was quite fidgety and squirmed constantly in his seat. As his mother turned to talk with friends, he slipped away and found himself sitting at the ebony concert grand Steinway on the huge stage flooded with blinding lights. Placing his small, trembling fingers on the keyboard he began to play Chopsticks. The sophisticated audience suddenly ceased their conversations and glared at the boy on stage. Shouts were heard: “Get that boy away from there!” “Where’s his mother?” “Somebody stop him!” But backstage the famous pianist overheard the sounds and quickly realized what was happening. Grabbing his coat, he rushed toward the stage. Without a word of announcement he stooped over behind the boy, reached around both sides, and began to improvise a countermelody to harmonize with Chopsticks. As the two of them played together, Paderewski kept whispering in the boy’s ear: “Keep going. Don’t quit, son. Don’t stop. Keep on playing.” And so he did!

In a real sense, that’s the way it is with those of us who are followers of Jesus Christ. We often hammer away on our projects, which may seem about as significant as Chopsticks in a concert hall. We are about ready to give up when the Master comes along and whispers in our ear: “Keep going. Don’t quit. I am with you.” What immense help and encouragement we have in Him and in His Word! For example, the Bible says, “Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.” (Galatians 6:9). We also read, “Therefore…be steadfast, immovable…knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 15:58). You see, there’s a race to run and a course to finish. And the good news is that God empowers, sustains, and cares for His own. So, don’t give up. After all, how sad it would be if, instead of mastering an inspiring Minuet, we simply settled for Chopsticks.