Life is full of two types of calamities: major and minor. The major ones, easier to spot, are the ones we are most likely to both anticipate and endure. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day.
Holly and I recently purchased a set of kitchen chairs. Our old chairs had begun to wobble and creak. They were nicked and scratched after several decades of kitchen use. It was time. We went to a local furniture store known for its high quality, Amish-made furniture. In fact they have an Amish buggy out in front of their store promoting their Amish offerings. We were looking for chairs that would last for many years, so when our chairs were delivered and we were delighted. I was able to sit in them for hours instead of minutes. Everything about the chairs said quality. The cushion and fabric were durable and frames were made from hardwood. The chairs were pegged and glued. Even the rollers were top-notch. Unfortunately after a couple of weeks two of the chairs began to pull apart where the arms connected to the backs. I inspected the chairs closely and found that one of the chairs was pegged and glued at this point, but three were not. That one little detail, a small peg missing where there should have been one, made all the difference. The major detail work on the chairs was superb; it was the minor details that made three of the chairs deficient.
Life is full of two types of calamities: major and minor. The major ones, easier to spot, are the ones we are most likely to both anticipate and endure. It’s the minor issues that are easily overlooked.
Here’s a story. Russian composer, pianist, and conductor Sergei Rachmaninoff was once honored at a dinner hosted by fellow pianist Arthur Rubinstein. During the course of the evening, Rachmaninoff said he thought the Grieg piano concerto the greatest ever written. When Rubinstein said he had just recorded it, Rachmaninoff insisted on hearing it then and there. During coffee, Rubinstein put on the proofs of the record and Rachmaninoff, closing his eyes, settled down to listen. He listened right through without saying a word. At the end of the concerto he opened his eyes and said, “Piano out of tune.” (Today in the Word, December 15, 1992.)
1 Kings 2:28 relates the story of Joab, a faithful friend of King David who withstood the major calamity of Absalom’s rebellion but failed when it came to withstanding the minor calamity of following after the lesser evil, Adonijah. How often in our lives we’re able to withstand those big tests but fail when the smallest of details are at stake. Rubinstein chose to play one of the most difficult of all piano concertos ever written and passed the test, according to the ear of the great pianist and composer, Rachmaninoff. Had he tuned the piano it would have been a total success. So focused on the difficult Grieg score, he failed to pay attention to an easily overlooked detail: was the piano properly tuned to receive the score? The lesson here is alertness. You and I need to stay alert to the fact that life is full of minor difficulties, trials and temptations that can, if overlooked, overcome the major, more evident ones. Job withstood 99% of the great rebellion against King David. All was nearly lost to the fact that, in the end, a minor miscalculation on his part nearly cost him the war after winning all the major battles. We had to return those chairs because of the lack of a single peg. Life is like that sometimes. Little pegs if forgotten may be cause for large failures. Stay alert for God’s use of details in your life.
We pray. Thank you Lord for giving us a perspective of watchfulness when it comes to withstanding the big temptations and trials in life. Sometimes, Lord, we are so focused on these, however, that we fail to see the little temptations and trials that can bring our lives down around us if we aren’t careful. Forgive us when we lose sight of these, giving the devil and the world an opportunity to invade us secretly. Keep us alert to all manner of trouble Father. In Jesus name we pray. Amen!
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matt 6:34)
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