If someone nearby had a set of cymbals, and every few minutes they crashed them together, after a while you'd be telling them to either knock it off or scram. How senseless and annoying! Cymbals aren't exactly melodious instruments. Violins are much easier on the ears.
But put that same person and those same cymbals at the rear of an orchestra, and have the conductor tell them the exact moments to crash those cymbals, and, together with the rest of the instruments being led by that conductor, you now have Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture!
If you decided, based on the fact that cymbals aren't very melodious, that they're just loud and noisy and so you'll just eliminate them from the orchestra, you'll still be able to play some beautiful music without them, but you'll never get to play the 1812 Overture! And what a shame that would be! The world would be a lesser place if we could never hear that symphony. Without those cymbals, it just wouldn't have the same impact.
There have been many times in my life when I felt just like those cymbals ... loud, annoying and just in the way. A lot of creatives feel this way. I think it's because creatives are more sensitive than most – needing all that sensitivity for being creative! – and we tend to be more introspective, which is a big plus, but can have a downside if taken to extremes.
But just like those cymbals have an important impact on the 1812 Overture, the world would be a lesser place if we each weren't here making our own little contribution.
The world is big, crowded and noisy. A person can feel so insignificant, like one drop in a whole ocean. What difference do we make? Especially with the state our world has been in lately, with a dangerous and highly contagious virus, shutdowns, riots and violence, people crying out for justice and change. We all know people who have been sick, or have died, or lost their livelihood. Who can tell what's coming next or where we're going to end up?
And in the middle of all that, I'm supposed to get up everyday, put pencil to paper, and at the end of the day wonder what impact that made ... is the world any better because I did that? And I know you wonder about that for yourself, too. It doesn't matter what kind of work you do. Some people don't work at jobs per se ... they are at home everyday doing the important things there that hold their homes and families together. At the end of the day we all watch the news and come away feeling like we had no impact at all, so what is the point anyway?
But the symphony isn't dependent on any individual musician. Each musician is only responsible for his own part, and showing up on time and performing his job adequately. If the other musicians perform badly, he's not responsible for that ... but rather just his own contribution.
No, the symphony is the responsibility of the Conductor. Some of the musicians have parts that, heard solo, will be beautiful. Some of the musicians, like our cymbalist, have parts that just sound like noise when played alone. But the Conductor knows how to weave all those parts together and it becomes a majestic symphony!
We're each a lot like that cymbalist, except he has an advantage over us. He always knows what's coming next, because he has the written score in front of him. He knows when the violins will play, and when the horns will come in, and the drums, and then himself.
But in our lives and in our work, because we have no idea what might come in the next moment or day, we really have to give the Conductor our full attention. If we don't trust, watch and respond to our Conductor, we won't make any impact at all, and it's all wasted effort.
The real issue is that there are two Conductors, and we each have to choose which one we will follow. And don't allow yourself to be deceived ... to "not choose" is to choose the wrong conductor.
Both Conductors know how this symphony is going to play out. One Conductor will lead you into life and peace and the other is all about your destruction.
I won't preach you any sermons here. But our world has taken an alarming turn lately. And I just wanted you to know that God is still in control.
And it won't matter if we're the eloquent violin, or the clanging, noisy cymbal ... we just need to follow our Conductor's lead and He will walk us through the storms.
Even if you got up today feeling like that noisy, obnoxious cymbal ... just get up and get about all that clanging anyway. Then tomorrow get up and do it again. Then the next day, and the next ...
It the Conductor wants you to stay there, stay. If He leads you in another direction, go.
When the world comes apart before your eyes, lean on Him. If your world stays safe and protected, lean on Him.
One day we're all going to hear the most incredible and beautiful symphony of all ... and He'll reveal to each of us what our part was. Then we'll know how truly significant our lives were, and we'll be so glad we faithfully carried out what we thought at the time wasn't significant at all ...
Never give up ... it will come to pass ...