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February 10 -- "It's our Time to Be God's Instruments"

Philippians 2:5-13:

Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death— even death on a cross. Therefore, God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Therefore, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed me, not only in my presence, but much more now in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

I think these are some of the most wonderful words in Scripture. Many think that the first paragraph of that Scripture were originally the words to an early Christian song. If so, it’s a shame we lost the music, for the lyrics are stupendous.

If this was a hymn, it explains Paul’s words following the song. For he goes on to say that we need to let God work in us, enabling him to use us like instruments, and proclaim to the world, his wonderful message of hope and life.

One Saturday afternoon in a large stone cathedral in Europe, the sexton was making final preparations for the organ to be played the next day in the Sunday service. Thinking the door was locked, he was startled to hear footsteps in the sanctuary. He turned to see a man in tattered traveling clothes walking down the aisle in his direction. The stranger greeted him briefly, but his eyes were on the organ. He fumbled nervously with the hat in his hand, then said to the sexton, “I’ve traveled a great distance to see this organ. Would you be so kind as to open its console so I could look at it for a moment?”

The sexton answered. “The organist is very particular, sir. He would be furious if anything on the organ were not working perfectly tomorrow. I must refuse your request.”

But the traveler pressed the sexton, assuring him that he knew organs well and would be careful not to damage it. The sexton agreed to let him look at the console.

The traveler asked, “Could I please sit on the bench?”

The sexton hesitated, then replied, “Only for a moment.”

The traveler sat on the bench for a moment, and asked, “Could I play just a few bars?”

The sexton felt trapped. “Only a few bars, then you must leave.”

The traveler began to play, and lovely music filled the cathedral; more beautiful than any sexton had ever heard. The traveler played for several minutes, then stopped, scooted off the bench and thanked the sexton for his generosity.

The sexton said, “Thank you! The music was gorgeous. May I ask your name, sir?”

“Felix Mendelssohn,” the traveler answered, and walked away.

The sexton watched one of the greatest organists and composers of the nineteenth century walk out the door and thought, “I almost kept the master from playing his music in this cathedral.”

It is now our time to sound like that organ did that day, when the master was playing it. It is time for us to let God make us the light of the world. It is time to continue the work of the kingdom and defeat the darkness of evil. It is time to proclaim Jesus’ words of mercy and hope, of love and compassion, of healing and wholeness. It is our time to become God’s instruments.

~ God bless, Dan

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