3-Week Series: Double Blessing

Sermon Illustrations

Ashamed when it counted the most

My two sisters, when they were somewhat younger, liked to play the piano and took lessons for some time. I like music, too, but not all the practicing that went along with it!

We found out there was going to be a “recital” where all of the students in their music class were expected to perform a selection—I don’t know how the selection was made. Each sister spent a LOT of time, working on the piece of music each one was given, or had selected.

The day for the recital came. Even though I don’t remember how many students were in the group, I’ll never forget the overall performance. These children were around 12 years of age or so, maybe younger, but each one walked up to the piano or organ and, gave it their best shot. One other girl sat down at the organ, adjusted the sliding controls, and played her selection flawlessly. It was like that for all of them—except for one of the students.

This student (I won’t say if male or female) sat down at the piano, or organ, ran some fingers over the keys, looked around, and then in a still, small voice, said, “I don’t know my piece” and sat back in one of the chairs.

I can imagine the shame or embarrassment that child must have felt. This was the time when it counted the most, namely, demonstrating his or her mastery of a given piece of music. How long had he or she known, though, that “show time” was approaching? Did the child have time to practice? Was it just stage fright? We’ll never know the feelings that child experienced, but I’m sure that shame was one of them.

We as believers are going to “face the music”, too, one day. Every believer is going to give an account of his or her deeds before the Lord Jesus Christ. The “package” of our works, deeds, tries, accomplishments, what have you, will be evaluated by fire (see 1 Corinthians 3). Paul gave some very sobering words, when he said that if we build with wood, hay, or stubble (cut grass!), the materials would be burned up. If we used quality materials, like gold, silver, or precious stones, our works would remain and we would receive a reward.

Even the Apostle John reminded his readers, several years after Paul's message to "abide" in Christ so that the believer would not be ashamed when Jesus returns (1 John 2:28, paraphrased).

None of us has to be ashamed when it counts. Sure, there might be other recitals for a piano class for music students. While we live, every believer can change his “building materials” and choose quality over everything else. After all, isn’t that what matters? Once this package is complete, there’s no going back.

Scripture quotations taken from the King James Version of the Bible

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