An old story tells about a very famous violinist who was to give a concert in a major city. The violinist owned one of the finest Stradivarius violins in the world. For several days preceding the concert, the newspapers in the city carried stories about this man’s concert. Each of the stories featured his very rare and valuable violin. On the morning of the concert, there was a picture of the violin on the front page of the paper.

That night the concert hall was crowded. The violinist walked onto the stage and played his first selection. It was beautifully done. When he had finished, the entire audience stood and gave a thunderous round of applause.

When the applause died down, the violinist walked over to a chair and smashed the violin across the back of the chair. The violin broke into a thousand pieces. There was a gasp that went up from the audience.

The violinist then turned to the microphone and explained what he had just done. That afternoon he had walked up the street to a pawnshop. There he had purchased a cheap violin for a small amount of money. He put some strings on it and had used it to play his opening number. It was that violin that he had smashed across the back of the chair. Then he said, “I know it disturbed you to see me smash that violin, but I wanted you to know that the violinist is always far more important than the violin.”

In the same way, God can bring forth great music from very unlikely instruments. In fact, the story of the Bible is the story of how God often did that very thing. He called Moses from tending his flocks in Midian and used him to deliver Israel from captivity in Egypt. He used Gideon and 300 soldiers who were total committed to Him to lead Israel to an amazing victory over the vast armies of the Midianites. He called a shepherd boy named David to become Israel’s greatest king.

It was the same way in the New Testament. Jesus used people like fishermen and a tax collector to become His disciples. He called a woman’s small gift given at the Temple the greatest gift given that day. He used five loaves and two fish given to him by a small boy to feed a crowd of 5,000.

You may feel today that you are a very small and insignificant person who has a very limited potential for effectiveness in God’s service. Effectiveness in God’s service has always depended upon the power of God, not upon the perfection of the person. The key is for all of us to surrender ourselves completely to the hand of the Master. Who knows what great music He can bring from our lives?

Lynn Jones is a retired pastor, supply preacher and author who lives in Oxford. He can be reached at

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