Behind the arabesque?


My friend, may I ask you a question? Do those who know us feel that God has performed something beautiful in our lives, even if they can’t quite put a finger on it? The beauty thus belongs to God as well as the glory. However, do we make that possible just by being us?

My friend, life's a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner.


We raised three daughters, all of whom were in some way connected with dance. Attending dance studios where little girls who pirouette become young ladies who arabesque, requires not only thousands of hours of practice but many hours of performance. My wife Holly was not only chaperone during these years, she was also volunteer usher, sewer, promoter and, at times, cleaning lady. She was joined by dozens and dozens of other volunteers who worked behind the scenes to make sure that studios were clean, dancers looked great in their costumes, the community was informed and tuned in, tickets were sent, performance guests comfortably seated, the lighting was spot on, and the music was in synch with the moves on the stage. Of course the dancers were center stage as they should be, but if the lighting was off, music was choppy, tickets were confused, performance times not communicated well, costumes tacky and the performance hall skimpy on flowers and decorations, it really didn’t matter who danced well because guests would walk away at the end of the performance with the feeling that things just didn’t go well.

Holly and the many other volunteers who helped behind the scenes at the many performances our girls participated in were paid little or, in most instances, no witness to the work they did to make sure that guests went away pleased, impressed and feeling the tickets were well worth the price. In that sense they had no individual success. As a whole, however, their success was implicit and impacting. So it is for us as well when we are called to work, without witness to us, in God’s theatre of atonement.

Oswald Chambers writes: “The tendency is to look for the marvelous in our experience.... It is one thing to go through a crisis grandly, but another thing to go through every day glorifying God when there is no witness, no limelight, no one paying the remotest attention to us. If we do not want medieval haloes, we want something that will make people say -- 'what a wonderful man of prayer he is! What a pious devoted woman she is!' .... It takes God's spirit in us to make us so absolutely humanly His that we are utterly unnoticeable. The test of the life of a saint is not success, but faithfulness in human life as it actually is.” (My Utmost for His Highest, November 16)

In 1 Corinthians 10:31 the Apostle Paul writes. “ So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” We ought never to expect glory for ourselves, even the faintest moment of recognition. In fact, we should be honored no-one knows who we are or what specifically we are doing to bring God the glory. Holly and all of those moms who put so much of themselves into their daughters’ lives were satisfied their daughters were honored. Yet, every person attending those performances left with a feeling that behind the pirouette that ended in an arabesque was something more than just dancing; it was the art of the performance as music, lighting, seating, promoting, and decorating made the dancing so beautiful. We bring glory to our Father in Heaven when we live lives of devout humility dedicated to making sure that those who walk in our shadow know that God has performed something beautiful in our lives, even if they can’t quite put a finger on it. The arabesque thus belongs to God as well as the glory. However, we make that possible just by being us.

We pray. Heavenly Father, working without a witness to ourselves is a difficult thing to do. We crave a little credit every now and then. Father, forgive us when we look for glory in the call, even the smallest bit of credit. We deserve no more than just living our lives and moving on in grace and faith until you call us home. Help us to live quietly and to your glory. In Jesus name we pray. Amen!

Therefore my friend, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry for itself; each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matt 6:34) This Passing Day. May this passing day honor our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and be a blessing to you and everyone you meet. Find a stranger and say hello. Don't let another day pass without your day blessing someone else.

If you have a special prayer request, please send your request to "This Passing Day!" <markcbrunner@thispassingday.com> God bless you for Jesus sake.

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