Summary: Life is tough. As a result, there is need for us to reach out & touch a life. The heart that regularly gives thanks is the heart that serves God by faithfully ministering to others.Such is the power of gratitude


Colossians 3:12-17


Mildred Hondorff, a former elementary school music teacher from Des Moines, Iowa, tells of life-changing experience she had with a pupil. Supplementing her income by teaching piano lessons she taught a “musically challenged” pupil by the name of Robby.

She really didn’t want to give him lessons because he was eleven and she liked to start them at a younger age. But because he said it had always been his mother’s dream to hear him play, she agreed to have him as a student. As much as Robby tried, he lacked the sense of tone and basic rhythm needed to excel; Mildred thought it was a hopeless endeavor.

Nevertheless, over the ensuing months he dutifully

practiced his lessons while she listened and cringed and tried to encourage him. At the end of each lesson he would always say, “My mom’s going to hear me play some day.” But it seemed hopeless as he just

didn’t have any inborn ability. Mildred only knew his mother from a distance as she dropped Robby off or waited in her aged car to pick him up. She always waved and smiled but never stopped in.Then one day Robby stopped coming to lessons. Mildred thought about calling him but assumed, because of his lack of ability he pursuing something else. She was glad he had stopped coming for he was a bad advertisement for her teaching. Some time later she mailed out flyer’s on an upcoming recital. To her surprise Robby asked her if he could be in the recital. She told him that since he had dropped out he really did not qualify.He said that his mom had been sick and was unable to take him to his lessons but he had still been practicing.“Miss Hondorf,” he pleaded, “I just have to play!” To make a long story short, something within her caused her to reach out to him in a special way.

Against her better judgments, she allowed him to play in the recital. The night of the recital came and the high school gymnasium was packed. She put Robby last on the program thinking that any damage done would be overlooked by her closing piece. Finally Robby came up on stage, his clothes were wrinkled and his hair a

mess. She wondered why his mother didn’t dress him up and comb his hair. She was further surprised when he announced that he had chosen Mozart’s Concerto #21 in C Major. She was not prepared for what she heard next.

His fingers were light on the keys and she had never heard Mozart played so well by anyone of his age.

After six and a half minutes he ended in a grand crescendo and everyone was on their feet in wild surprise. Overcome and in tears she ran up on the stage and put her arms around him.“I’ve never heard you

play like that Robby!How did you do it?” Through the microphone Robby explained: “Well Miss Hondorf, remember I told you my mom was sick?Well actually she had cancer and passed away this morning.She was born deaf so tonight was the first time she ever heard me play and I wanted to make it special.” There wasn’t a dry eye in the house that evening. Mildred couldn’t help but think how much richer her life had become because she wanted to make a difference in Robby’s

life.She reached out and took a chance on a hurting and needy little boy.That night she said he became the teacher as he taught her the meaning of love and the

importance of reaching out to others and ministering to them in some special way.It became even more meaningful to her since after serving in Desert Stor

Robby was killed in the senseless bombing of the Alfred Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in April of 1995.

Life is tough. Hurt, pain, loneliness, emptiness, rejection, illness and a host of other unpleasant realities define so much of life today. Such is the inevitable consequence of living in this sin-marred world. As a result, there is a pressing need for us to reach out and touch a life. We all have it within our power to make a significant difference in the lives of others as did Mildred Hondorff. God expects us to do just that! That is His plan to help hurting, burdened



We are here on earth to make a difference by serving the Lord. We serve Him and fulfill the purpose of our existence by serving others,by ministering to one another.In so doing we glorify God, bless others and bless ourselves. The giving of thanks enables us to be faithful in our God given task of reaching out to others and making a difference in their lives.

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Jan Esterhuizen

commented on May 30, 2019

Thank you. I searched gratitude and found this sermon. Thank you LORD.

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