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03 February 2008

Preventive Maintenance

I just remembered that I have to play a piano part this morning to accompany a vocal soloist. The moment I remembered that, I remembered that I had not practiced the piece as I'd committed to myself to do (not only for the sake of the soloist, but for the sake of all those who'll hear it). Most of the things I play are really pretty easy; it's been a while since I've had to actually read music that requires practice.

Rather than praying for God to miraculously guide my fingers (which I'm slightly ashamed to admit I'm asking), the first thing I'm talking to Him about is a request for forgiveness for being irresponsible. I'm going to need to arrive early and practice the piano piece in order to make up for my failure to take advantage of the past few days' rehearsal opportunities.

I was sitting at a stop sign the other day during moderately heavy traffic, and I realized that I'd have to take advantage of a short no-car-coming window. At the appropriate time, I "gunned" it and zipped across the intersection far more speedily than normal. Not so much that it could be classified as reckless driving, but fast enough to ensure I'd make it across quickly.

I'm not a model car-owner; historically, I have a habit of failing to maintain vehicles. I've been doing pretty well with my current set o' wheels, though: oil changes, periodic maintenance, tires, all that good stuff. However, if I've failed to give my vehicle any preventive maintenance or keep it in good day-to-day working order, getting it across an intersection in a hurry would be a bit of a crap-shoot, wouldn't it?

Easy-to-see parallel: if we don't prepare ourselves to face the wear and tear of everyday life -- no prayer, no hiding the Word in our hearts, no spending time meditating on God -- then what do we expect the Spirit to bring to mind on those situations where that recall and deep sense of His presence is needed? Why would we expect our focus to remain on Him? The strength for the unique trials we face, the comfort we need to give to someone who's hurting, the word of wisdom, correction, or encouragement we need to give to our children... where will we get those things?

As Paul directed Timothy regarding the preaching of the Word, "Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching." (2 Timothy 4:2, NLT)


Christy said...

I don't know if you wrote this before or after this mornings sermon. I found myself totally agreeing w/ Tommy Marr's message of 'use it or lose it'. It is so true not only in areas of talent and skills, but in spiritual matters. If we don't use the Word of God and use opportunities to pray, then we will lose (or at least slow down tremendously) our spiritual maturity.

Bill Fowler said...

I think going to work everyday at a building with a cross on the outside means you're maintaining pretty well. Also, you're a talent. A good ear plus some natural ability is the recipe for winging it in music. If God had intended you to sweat at the piano, you'd have slammed your hand in the car door in the parking lot.

Tony M said...

Pretty much totally unrelated to your original topic, but somewhat related to Bill Fowler's comment, my brother once played a piano recital with a broken thumb. He'd shut it in a truck door the Saturday before, complained, but apparently not enough to have it taken seriously. Sunday afternoon we had a piano recital. Afterwards, they noticed his thumb was swollen and purple... and took him to the ER, where it was x-rayed and found to be broken.

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