Psalm 37: 27 Turn away from evil and do good; so shall you dwell forever.
It was talent night. All the parents and grandparents, along with a sprinkling of aunts, uncles, siblings and friends made up the seated crowd anxiously wiggling on cold steel chairs designed to fit everyone, and never really fitting anyone. Small performers one by one sang their song, or danced, or played the piano. Smiling heads would nod, ignoring the occasional off tune notes, and hands would come together in polite enthusiasm at the conclusion of each act. Then, a small little girl edged onto the stage. Her timid steps continued as she peered out into the sea of eyes. For a moment she just stood there in silence, shifting her weight from one foot to the next, one hand clasping a violin, the other a bow. Nervous silence filled the room, and then a few murmurs. Everyone felt the young girl’s anxiety. She scanned the room for the one pair of eyes that had always encouraged her. Slowly she raised the instrument to her chin, took a deep breath and began to play what she had practiced so often over the past few weeks. When it was over, she dropped her violin to her side and the audience applauded. Skipping off the stage she rushed into her father’s arms. “Did I do good, Daddy?”
Nothing makes us more pleased than when we “do good” for the Lord, right? No matter what the human response to our deeds, if we feel God’s smiling head nod, it makes all the efforts worthwhile. All of the sacrifices of our time and talents pay off in that warm feeling of knowing we did good in the eyes of our Lord. But, do we realize that we cannot do good without Him to guide us? It is God who has given us the heart, the brains, the talents. If we begin to believe it is all our own doing, then evil can creep in and feed our pride. We start to rely on our own strengths, and not Our Heavenly Father’s. We start to see what we do from our own perspective. The goal is focused away from the people we are doing it for and shifted to our own satisfaction. We want the applause. We want our moment on the stage.
In truth, the little girl knew what was important. All of her practicing, all those hours when she could have been outside playing with her friends or playing on the Wii, she was instead playing her violin with her father’s coaching. Whether she hit every note in perfect tempo or not, whether she was the best that night or whether she got the loudest applause didn’t matter. The measure of her efforts was the look in her Daddy’s eyes. As well it should have been.