There’s a favorite story of mine that I heard years ago and have never forgotten. Legend has it that the great pianist and composer Paderewski was performing in a concert hall one night. During the intermission a couple, having brought their 6-year-old to the concert to encourage his recent interest in learning the piano, suddenly realized that their son had wandered off and was nowhere to be found. As they frantically began to search for him, a murmur rumbling through the crowd caused them to look up onto the stage. There was their son, sitting on the maestro’s piano bench.
Before the parents had time to react, the young boy began to pluck out the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star on the piano, the one song he knew how to play. The paralyzed parents were both mortified and paralyzed, painfully aware of the disapproving stares from the audience, and judgmental comments about wayward children and irresponsible parents. And then, to their horror, the parents watched Paderewski step out onto the stage and quietly approach their son from behind. Upon reaching the child, Paderewski leaned down and gently whispered into the boy’s ear, “Keep playing.” Then the master pianist placed his hands on either side of the young novice and began to accompany him.
The audience grew silent as they listened in awe. The music of the two performers intertwined together forming into a beautiful masterpiece. The power and skill of the master transforming the simple efforts of the novice was something glorious to behold. As the song concluded, the audience erupted into a standing ovation, and the speechless parents collected their son off the stage. It was truly a night that no one who witnessed it would ever forget.
I love this story because it reminds me that this is how God desires to interact with us. We see this in the story of Jesus feeding the five thousand. Jesus takes the limited resources of the disciples—five loaves and two fish—and abundantly and supernaturally multiplies them. He miraculously empowers the twelve to accomplish something that they never could have done on their own. This picture of what is possible when God partners with us is so important to remember in this season.
These past months I have often felt ill-equipped, keenly aware of my limitations, and on the verge of being overwhelmed by the challenging circumstances surrounding me. But in those moments, the Holy Spirit has reminded me that I am not alone on the stage and that I just need to keep playing. I believe this is a word for all of us to hold onto in these challenging days. With our master partnering with us, our simple efforts can be transformed into something heavenly.
The key is to listen for the guidance of the Holy Spirit, trusting that our lack of skill, our limited resources, and our imperfect efforts are more than enough for God to accomplish his purposes. So keep playing Baseline family! May we all have eyes to see how God is at work in our midst.