Playing My Part for God
A devotional by Amanda Wen
“For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” –Romans 12:4-5 (NIV)
Many authors have another job besides writing, and I’m no exception: I am a professional cellist. Both my degrees are in cello performance, and I’ve played in many different capacities throughout my career, most frequently in symphony orchestras.
An orchestra is a vast and complex machine, filled with countless moving parts. From the lush sonority of the strings to the booms and crashes of percussion, the blare of brass and the chirp of woodwinds, each instrument has its own tone color, its own part, and its own contribution to the overall piece of music. What’s more, each instrument’s role varies depending on the needs of a particular composition. Sometimes the full ninety-piece orchestra is playing at full volume, but it’s just one instrument playing as quietly as it can. Sometimes your section has the melody, but sometimes your role is to support another section or soloist.
Since an orchestra is so complicated, guidance is needed. This guidance comes in two forms: the music on the stand, and the conductor at the front. The music tells each musician what notes to play, when to play them, and what they should sound like, while the conductor guides the orchestra as a whole. He or she is responsible for the overall interpretation of the piece: what tempo to take, what character the music should have, which musical lines need to be emphasized and which can fade into the background. Although each musician in an orchestra is perfectly capable of coming up with their own individual interpretation, that’s not what orchestral playing is about. Instead, it’s about knowing your part, working together with everyone else on stage, and trusting the lead of your conductor.
As I sat in the cello section during a recent rehearsal, I couldn’t help but think of how similar this is to the Christian life. Just as each instrument has its own character and color, so do all of us have our own unique gifting and temperament. God has given each of us talents, skills, and spiritual gifts. He’s wired all of us exactly the way we need to be to accomplish exactly what He’s planned for us. Cymbals are meant to crash through the orchestra and highlight big moments. Flutes and oboes trill cheerfully atop the rest of the orchestra, brass provides a touch of the regal, bassoons illustrate an orchestra’s comic side, and strings serve as the orchestra’s soul. Each instrument has its own role, and it would be pointless of me to wish my cello sounded like a clarinet. Just as pointless as each of us wishing we had someone else’s gifts or part to play in God’s Kingdom.
And always, always, our job is to know our written score (God’s Word), follow our Conductor’s lead, and trust His plan for and interpretation of the piece, even when it might not agree with our own. Just as orchestral playing isn’t about the individual, but the whole, the Christian life isn’t about any one person. It’s about all of us working together, playing our individual part in God’s grand design. He’s the only one who can see the complete score. He knows the piece intimately, for He wrote it, and He knows exactly how He wants it to go.
Play your role. Know your part. Trust your conductor. In both orchestra and life, it’s the best way to make beautiful music.
Amanda Wen is an award-winning writer of contemporary inspirational romance and split-time women’s fiction.
A first place winner in the 2017 Indiana Golden Opportunity Contest, she also placed first in the 2017 Phoenix Rattler Contest, the 2017 Great Expectations Contest, and the 2016 ACFW First Impressions Contest, among others. In addition, she was a finalist in the 2018 ACFW Genesis Contest.
Amanda is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and regularly contributes author interviews for their Fiction Finder feature. She’s also been spotted onstage with the worship team at recent ACFW conferences. Amanda is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency.
In addition to her writing, Amanda maintains an active and rewarding career as a freelance cellist, frequently performing with symphony orchestras, string quartets, and her church’s worship team. She lives in the Midwest with her amazing husband and their three adorable and hilarious Wenlets.
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