God has been good to me and even when life is painful I know He will still continue to be so. And sometimes the lessons He lets life teach me hurts but in the long run, I am better for it.
I remember when I was in my early 30's. My walk with God was only a few years old but I had witnessed His hand in my life many times and was very involved at the church my children and I attended.
I was asked to play the piano for a wedding for a friend of someone who went to my church. I had been playing for weddings since I was 15 and was always delighted to be asked. Also, having five children still at home, the extra income was helpful.
I was given sheet music to practice ahead of time and was told there was one song they hoped I could "pick" out. I assured them I would do my best.
At the first rehearsal, held in a large church across town, everything went fine until someone began to try to sing the song they wanted me to learn to play by ear. They said it was a popular song but I had never heard it before and if memory serves, it was country music which is usually fairly easy to pick out. I was having a hard time getting the song how they said it should go though. Sometimes I pick things out much better if someone is not standing over me and I believe the singer kept changing keys or something but for whatever reason, things were not going very well.
Finally, someone spoke up. "Let so-and-so try it." Several people agreed and a lady from the wedding party (a very attractive, young woman) came up to the piano and I got up. In no time at all, she picked the song out beautifully. It was decided she would play the one song (I don't think she could read music if memory serves) and rejoin the wedding party after she finished it and I would play all the rest.
After the rehearsal, several people gathered around the piano and talked about her while she played again. They told me, as they bragged on her, she had been able to pick out most any song since she was very young. Maybe she could have picked out all the songs I had the music to and would have been asked to play for the wedding if she had not been one of the bridesmaids.
But I was the paid musician and someone younger who had no piano at all had sat down in my place and done a better job than I had. I can still recall how my cheeks burned with embarrassment and how I didn't stay for the pizza they ordered. (There was to be one more rehearsal which was where the more formal rehearsal dinner would be held.)
I remember praying on the way home as the tears from my shame and pity for my wounded ego poured down my cheeks. And then I will never forget the prompting of the Holy Spirit as His words poured into my mind: "The way you feel now is the way you have made others feel before."
Immediately, I knew it was true. And it wasn't just in the area of music. At my workplace I had excelled and won monthly awards and made extra money due to their incentive program. And I had been proud about it too--too proud. And there were other pride-filled, sinful areas in my life too not because I was so talented or great but because I was not humble.
By the time I got back to my house, my cheeks were burning for a different reason. God had called me on my pride and how I had "showed-off" in the past. Now I was ashamed before Him.
In the churches I have worked in since then, I make it a point to encourage others in their God-given gifts as I have become more and more aware that anything we have is a gift from God in the first place. His gifts do not make us superior in any way. Nor do they give us the right to trample over others.
For our supreme example is Jesus and as Philippians 2: 3-8 tells us, even He humbled Himself for our sakes.
How much more should we humble ourselves?
And that's the view from this catbird seat...
- Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. 4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.