WRITTEN BY REV. GEORGE VINK
She did it to me again.
Just because she and her husband used to sing duets, just because she thinks that she’s endowed with the family’s singing voice, and because she doesn’t realize how it hurts, she announced, “You can’t sing, George!” And, she did this after our celebrating her 83rd birthday, having driven over two hundred miles to do so.
Siblings can be so cruel! Her devastating judgment came when I sang “Happy Birthday, Dear________.” (Name deleted to protect the guilty.) I did so on the actual date, having gathered the previous day to avoid over-tiring her on the actual date. So, it was on the phone while driving. Hardly ideal conditions!
It wasn’t my best rendition, but it was sincere. Her opinion echoed that of a fourth grade teacher who urged me to bring a bucket in order to carry a tune. I was silenced for years, but no more!
Thinking about these things, I believe it helps to remember Chuck Swindoll’s question in his Day by Day with Charles Swindoll. He asks, “Have you been envious or jealous of another’s gift?” When answering his question honestly, also make sure you follow his advice, “Just stop and think of what the world would have missed had you not been in it.”
Quite the challenge!
What would you list when humbly, but also honestly, answering his question? If all that you could answer is, “Well, there would’ve been one less complainer,” I feel badly for you…and those around you.
I admit honestly to having been envious of other people’s gifts. Playing a musical instrument such as a piano or organ as well as some do always makes me regret not having stayed with organ lessons. Almost a teen, I gave up too quickly and easily. I really didn’t have that gift! Hearing a speaker who has a marvelous way with words or an enviable elocution arouses my jealousy more than godly contentment allows. Then there’s the gift of patience and ….
I must take Swindoll’s admonition seriously and realize that envying another person’s gift hasn’t helped me accomplish anything at all. I have to use mine, whatever my gift(s) may be. I might even have more than one. So, consequently I’ve asked and answered, “In what way is the world different because I was in it?” Some obvious ones! Without a bucket, I’ve provided an example of enthusiastic singing and worship. Certainly three biological sons and eleven grandchildren are here and making a difference. A fourth son is also delightedly ours because I prevailed and won the heart of a loving woman who joined me in a lifetime of adventuring that included room for a fourth son and the additional love provided.
In addition, let me be honestly daring. The world would have missed laughter I’ve brought into some people’s lives. I can tell a good joke! Also, several congregations would not talk about our need for healthy“Vertical-Horizontal” relationships if I hadn’t been their pastor. And, I’m confident enough to know that there are folks who understand grace and forgiveness just a little bit better because I was in their lives as their pastor. After all, needing it so much myself, I talked about it repeatedly.
I hope and confidently expect that you will appreciate my trying to share it. Anyhow, now it’s your turn to list what would be missed.