Focal Passage: Romans 12:1-8, 14-21
A few weeks ago I was talking to a woman who is a member of the church where my son is pastor. We were discussing how our mothers made us take piano lessons, and she shared that the wife of the former pastor told the church, “My mother made me take piano lessons because she said that I might marry a preacher.” I laughed, but said that I didn’t think that was the reason my mother wanted me to take piano lessons, even though I did marry a preacher.
I have to admit that for many, many years, when people asked if I could play the piano, I would answer, “Not very well at all” and then run in the opposite direction. It is the truth, I do not play very well, but I found that wherever John and I served, I had to play the piano because there was no one else to do so.
Also, everywhere I became the pianist, I followed a great musician. That is very humbling. At one of our churches, when they asked me to become their pianist, I said, “Well, I only play by the notes.” The chairman of the deacons answered, “Well, honey, we only sing by the notes.”
I am glad that I can play enough to fill a need, but it is not false modesty that keeps me from taking any credit when I play. If I can keep folks on key, I am happy. If they are happy that they don’t have to sing without music, they can give God the glory!
Once, in a Sunday School class, the teacher asked us, “Is it harder to mourn with those who mourn, or rejoice with those who are rejoicing?” Immediately, one of the members answered, “It is harder to mourn with the mourners!”
We were all silent for a moment, and then in one voice we reacted, “Oh, no, it isn’t. It is harder to be happy for someone who is rejoicing than to cry with someone who is hurting.” The one who answered so quickly said, “You’re absolutely right. I spoke too quickly.”
As Christians, we are expected to hurt with those who are hurting, and try to help them, but when something wonderful happens to another person, there can be that horrible little voice inside us which says, why couldn’t that have happened to me? I deserve it more.
We need to squelch that voice before it even begins, and repeat Romans 12:15a — I will rejoice with those who rejoice.