Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. 1 Corinthians 12:4-7
Antonio was an Italian boy who loved music. Whenever he tried to sing, it came out so badly his friends laughed. Next to singing, the boy loved the violin. Antonio learned that the greatest violinmaker in all Italy, lived in his village! Conscientiously, Antonio worked many days, whittling a violin. When finished, the boy gave the master his small violin and said, "Sir, I love music, but I cannot sing. I wish to make violins." The master smiled, looked at the small gift and said, "Beautiful! You want to make violins? And so you shall! In time, your violins will make the most beautiful music ever heard!" And so it was for Antonio Stradivari.
Now, I could go two ways with that story. I could tell you that God loves you and has given you gifts that can be used to glorify Him and make life better for those around you. That would be true. I would rather speak to those readers who are discouraged with their day-to-day existence. It may, indeed, be that life has shut some doors for you, as it did for Antonio. If that is true, then I urge you not to give up. It has been my experience that when life closes one door, the Lord opens another. Antonio discovered that. Make his discovery your own. You may be surprised that the Master can use you to make beautiful music that everyone around you can appreciate.
From a devotion originally written for "By the Way"
THE PRAYER: Dear God, help me to use the gifts You have given me to glorify You and help those around me. Open my heart and mind to Your will. May I not only see, but also act upon the opportunities You place before me today. Amen.
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