You would think that for someone who plays three instruments, I would love going to concerts. While I have been playing music almost all my life, I don’t really consider myself a musician, at least not a normal one. The main reason is because not only am I hearing impaired, I am also tone deaf. While I do have some sense of pitch, unless two notes are drastically different, I cannot pick out the higher pitch from the lower one. After 22 years of playing music, I cannot hum a note if you asked me to, even if you played it first. This has made my musical journey very interesting to say the least. That is why I never seem to enjoy concerts unless I was a playing in it. I’ve always loved performing and playing with a group but as far as listening goes, if the music didn’t have words to it, it didn’t mean much to me. All that changed last week.
My friend took me to see a concert that was being held in a cafe/piano showroom. The performance was a piano, violin, and cello trio. Since it was an intimate cafe setting, we got to sit right in front of the performers. This was my first time seeing professional musicians up close and what I saw and heard changed my view of music and helped me realize how God sees me.
While the pianist and the violinist were very skilled players, my eyes hardly left the cellist. There was just something different about him that stood him out among the other two. His playing engaged me on an emotional level. It seemed to me like he and his instrument were one. Prior to the last piece, the violinist and the cellist spoke about the making and history of their instruments. That was the part that really blew me away and inspired this blog post. Both of them spoke about their instruments with such pride and enthusiasm that I had never seen in musicians before. Since most of my musical experience was forced on me, I always felt a bit of resentment towards my instruments. They were my slave drivers, the things that kept me from playing with my dolls as a child and from reading my favorite novel as I grew older. In other words, I had never experienced any of the pride or love regarding my instruments as I heard in the voices of the musicians that night. As I listened to them, I realized that it was a faint reflection of how God sees me as the instrument he created.
Both musicians considered their instruments the finest that they have played on. Likewise, I know that when God created me, he was just as pleased with his creation (even though I often wonder what in me would ever bring God pleasure). However, no matter how fine or wonderful the instrument was, without the musician it made no sound. A craftsman may make the best violin in the world, but without someone to draw the bow across the string it would lay there lifeless and silent. Likewise, apart from Christ, I can do nothing. Every breath that I take which allows me to move and talk and write has been given to me by my Creator and Musician and without him I am also lifeless and silent. Because of this, when the musician plays the instrument, the listeners always praise the musician rather than the instrument. At a concert, it is common for me to hear remarks like, “Wow, he’s a really good pianist!” or “She’s such a talented musician!” Never have I heard comments such as, “My, what a talented flute!” or “Look at that skilled bassoon!” The only praise I have ever heard directed towards the instrument was given by the musician himself. It was the cellist who said, “This is the finest instrument.” The violinist also said about her instrument, “This instrument was made especially for me. It is my baby.” In other words, when others see our good works, they are to glorify the one who made us and makes music out of us (Matthew 5:16) while we look to God alone for our affirmation. Finally, just as a good musician always takes great care of his instrument, I can trust God to take great care of me as his instrument.
Today has been a very exciting day for me, because I am once again able to play my favorite instrument, the oboe. My dream has always been that the music I play will lead others into worship. Every time I pick up my instrument, I know that once I breathe into it, it has the capacity to draw others into the presence of God and glorify him (provided I know what I’m doing when I blow). My ultimate desire however, is that God’s breath in me will also cause others to worship him. To me, there is no higher calling or greater purpose.