God’s Orchestra

By Keith Miller | December 31, 2010

Keith, just wanted to ask you what you think about making New Year’s resolutions.  I have tried to live up to the Christian standard, but I never can.  So I’m not too optimistic about making any big resolutions for 2011.  What’s the point?

Where has this idea come from that there is just one image we should imitate in order to live the Christian life?  This question occurred to me after realizing that for a long time, I had not felt free and natural in my Christian living because I was always trying to be something I was not so that I could be “like a child of God” (like those other children of God around me).

But  a while back I realized that God has given each of us our own individual “sound”, our own lives.  For years I have been a piccolo trying to play in the tuba section, because some men I admire greatly play the spiritual “deep notes.”  Can you imagine anything more pitiful than a piccolo trying to play in the tuba section?  Yet this had been the story of much of my life.  It seemed to me that if it were true that each of us was to find the particular creative form of our own obedience, then it was all right for me to be a piccolo.  I did not have to pretend that I was a tuba.  What a relief!

I had once heard a friend say that he had taken the most outstanding characteristic or ability of each of the greatest Christians he had known and built for himself a composite picture of a Christian—and then tried to live up to the whole thing.  And now as I remembered hearing him say that, I realized I had done the same thing.  I had drawn up my image of how I was to live from C. S. Lewis’s ability with the written word in English, Elton Trueblood’s discipline, Gert Behanna’s sheer emotional power as a person on the platform, Sam Shoemaker’s ability in helping people individually to find a handle to the doorway into the kingdom—all these and many more.  Unconsciously, I was trying to be all of these things, and, needless to say, I wasn’t making it and had felt discouraged.  But now I was discovering that I could just be me, for Christ’s sake.  As a matter of fact, that is the only way I can play my true part in God’s orchestra.  When I really believed this, I set out to try to live a life-sized life.

But I didn’t have the slightest notion of how to be my real self.  And as I’ve continued to search for the “natural me,” it has taken years to begin to discover what that is for me.  So when New Year’s eve rolls around and I think about any resolutions I might make, I try to think in terms of asking God to help me continue to find my true place in his orchestra, and to begin again to learn how to use my God-given natural characteristics, abilities and dreams to love God and the people who are already in my life, which Jesus said was the underlying principle beneath the ten commandments.

Lord, thank you that it’s all right just to be me.  In fact, it’s not only “all right,” but it is what I am supposed to be.  Help me to surrender my whole life to you and let go of what is not me.  Show me how to bring your love into the world I already live in wherever I go in 2011—using the traits and abilities you instilled in me when I was created.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.

Romans 12:1-2, The Message

Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.”

Mt. 22:37, The Message

3 comments | Add One

  1. Barbara - 12/31/2010 at 11:18 am

    Thank you for reminding me about being me.
    Hope your healing quickly.

    Blessings, Barbara

  2. Sarah Wilcher - 12/31/2010 at 2:16 pm

    Oh Keith. I am so grateful for these words. Playing in the wrong section has left me tired. But discovering who I really am is the best thing that ever happened to me. I think it makes God very excited as well.
    Bless you and your family. Thanks again for sharing your heart.

  3. Candy Huber - 01/3/2011 at 10:03 am

    Dear Keith and Andrea:
    How blessed I am to have you both in my life, my devotional life, my thoughts and journey. May this 2011 years bring you continued blessings for Our Father, and may your journey widen and deepen as you bless so many others. Happy New Year!

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It is Keith’s genius to take very elusive and complicated material and make it understandable…His own rigorous honesty is a living mirror which can inspire us…
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