I arrived safe and sound in Harare, Zimbabwe yesterday. I'm still getting settled and I'm already off today to a remote site for a two-day retreat. I'll write more in coming days concerning the conditions here and what God is doing in spite of it all. But for now, let's talk a bit about purpose.
Michael Jones, a gifted pianist, author, speaker and educator tells the story of how he went from being a consultant to a famous pianist. One day someone heard Mr. Jones playing the piano in a Toronto hotel lobby, something he did as a hobby while he traveled. The man approached him and asked Mr. Jones an important question:
The man asked, "Do you work at the hotel?" I said, "Oh, no, no, no. I'm a consultant. I'm busy trying to change the world." To my disappointment, he didn't seem at all impressed by that. Then he asked, "How many other people do this kind of consulting work that you do?" I said, "Well, probably 20 or 30, I would guess, in the Toronto area." And then he looked at me, and at that moment what I most recall about the meeting was how clear and sober his eyes appeared, from how he seemed a few minutes before. He said, "Who's going to play that music if you don't play it yourself?"
I felt that question drop in a way that I had not heard a question drop inside of me before. I realized it was a question for which I had no answer. . . Then he stood up, a little uneasy, and steadied himself by putting his hand on my shoulder, and said, "This is your gift -- don't waste it." Meanwhile I sat on the piano bench, stunned by the question and the sense that it had just changed my life. Who will play my music? I asked myself.
So I want to ask you the same question: Who will play your "music" if you don't? Who will write the book, build the business empire, take the missions trip, compose the play or fulfill your destiny if you don't? Are there others who can do what you are doing now, while something only you can do remains undone?
Michael Jones concluded that no one would play his music if he didn't. He overcame his fear, as he tells it, of going broke, being ignored or failing and went on to sell two million copies of his piano recordings. I am not guaranteeing this measure of success, for that is in God's hands. But I can promise you the same sense of adventure and fulfillment if you let go of the familiar to embrace the unknown as you follow your dream.