Thursday, August 03, 2006

Playing With the Master

Ignace Jan Paderewski was, at one time, both the prime minister of Poland and a virtuoso pianist. A story is told about a mother who brought her young son to hear him perform. The boy was just beginning to learn the piano and she wanted him to hear a master, so she bought tickets for two front-row seats in the concert hall.

They sat down a few minutes before the concert was to begin. In the excitement of the event, the mother was looking around the large hall, mesmerized by the glitter and festivity. She didn't notice when her son climbed up on the stage, walked over to the piano and sat down on the bench. Suddenly she, and everyone else in the auditorium, heard the tune ‘Chopsticks’ coming from the piano on the stage. To her embarrassment and horror, she turned to discover that her son was committing this sacrilege upon the master’s piano.

Before she could get up on the stage and stop the boy, the master himself walked out from behind the curtains. Paderewski smiled at the distraught mother and waved her back to her seat. He then stood behind the boy, reached around him with both hands and began to play a lovely obbligato to his ‘Chopsticks.’ They were coworkers but not co-equals. We become coworkers with God only when he reaches around the feeble work of our hands with his hands and sanctifies it.”

(Ben Patterson, Serving God: The Grand Essentials of Work and Worship, 159-60)

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