The Grand Event
Years ago, a good friend asked me to be the music teacher at a little K-8 Christian school where he was the principal. I must have blacked out, or had a small fit of insanity that temporarily dispossessed me of my ability to think logically. Because when the meeting was over, I was nodding my head and shaking his hand while he explained my salary by muttering something about "Christian service." I was now a music teacher.
How hard could it be, though?
I figured I'd teach the kindergarteners some music theory by drawing funny faces on a staff and handing out percussion instruments, hoping they didn't use each other's heads as cymbals. When that quit working, I'd remove my ear plugs and teach them hand motions to a song. They could later perform this dressed like sheep. How adorable would that be? I'd teach the 1st and 2nd graders how to play recorders so that by the end we could subject their parents to a chorus of semi-recognizable tunes played on what sounds like constipated teapots at full boil. I would teach the 3rd and 4th graders how to play hand bells, and just keep highlighting notes on the score and tapping my baton on the music stand until that feeling that I'm driving a truck through a wind chime factory started to dissipate. I'd teach the 5th graders to be dramatic… wait, no instruction needed there. Then I would teach the 6th, 7th, and 8th graders to be a choir, assuring them that it's okay to risk looking like an idiot in front of everybody. Thankfully, I lead by example really well in that area.
Every day, I went home mentally exhausted.
I remember my name being on the program as having directed 150-odd kids in TWO unified productions of full-costumed dramatic and musical splendor. Heck, there were even kids at the back doing sound and lights. To this day I don't think it should have said "Director" next to my name on that program. "Befuddled Ringleader" would have suited better. I don't know how all those kids managed to get organized into that gorgeous, cohesive unit that made the parents cheer. What I saw during class didn't give me much reason to predict that outcome. What I didn't see was that God had a plan for those kids that year, and he had a plan for me that not even I could screw up. He went before me and cleared a path. He gave me just enough mayhem to bring me to my knees, but never push me over the edge. He sent parents and teachers and generous donors into my life who brought fullness and sparkle to my meager efforts. He shaped me into what was necessary for that time by lavishly supplying everything I needed, and even beyond. I went into almost every situation a clueless impostor and came out smelling like a rose. I was the cracked pot (or crackpot) that held water anyway. I was the crooked stick that drew straight lines. What I did at that school was impossible for me. That's why God was glorified. Only he could do all that. But that's biblical.
"Whoever speaks [should do so] as one who speaks oracles of God;
whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—
in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.
To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen." —1 Peter 4:11
Am I saying that volunteering to do jobs for which you are uniquely unqualified is always the way to go? Hehe. NO. I'm saying that you should do everything by the strength that God supplies so he gets the glory. It's just more obvious that's happening when you're out of your depth.
Want to see something freakishly fantastic about this verse?
That word "supplies" up there? The Greek word used is "chorēgei." It means "funds and leads a chorus of performers, bearing all the expenses necessary to stage a grand event." Are you freaking kidding me right now?! Amazing! Obviously, nobody knows better than God how much effort and expense goes into a theatrical production. When he "supplies," that's the level of supply we're talking about. God is so serious that his son Jesus be glorified in our lives, that he supplies us with everything we need to make our lives into a grand event that makes people say, "Wow, God did that?" He's not about spray glitter and cheap illusions. He sends in real tigers and lights the batons on fire!
Well, I only lasted a year being a music teacher, but I'm still out of my depth. I'm a mom now.
And being a mom is a lot like directing a theatrical production. I am so encouraged that even though I'm still the Befuddled Ringleader, I have a heavenly Dad who not only leads my little chorus of performers, he completely funds my efforts with strength and creativity when I have none of my own. He makes this grand event I call my life a success. He even does special effects! The applause at the final curtain will be his.