RON McCLUNG

You’ve been there, right, dragged to a concert you didn’t want to attend?

Forced to dressed up because it’s a swanky affair and you’d stand out like a sore thumb if you didn’t wear the proper attire?

Bored to tears as you waited for it to begin?

That’s exactly what happened to Johnny, or whatever his name was. He was only 9 years old. His mother hoped that if he heard the famous pianist play, it might inspire him to practice more, to want to be better.

In the meantime, the way I heard the story, Johnny squirmed in his seat, pulled at his too-tight collar and, when his mother turned her back to talk to friends, he scooted into the aisle. The big black piano on the stage fascinated him and he soon found himself sitting on the stool, reaching for those shiny black and white keys.

In his simple way, Johnny began playing “Chop Sticks.”

The crowd began to murmur. “Who is that kid?” “Who does he think he is?” “Where is his mother?”

Meanwhile backstage, the pianist heard the commotion and the simple, familiar melody. Striding onto the stage without a word to the audience, he came up behind the boy and reached his arms around either side. He spontaneously began to compose a counter melody to accompany the lad’s simple tune.

The boy was startled, but the master spoke quietly into his ear, “Don’t stop, son. Keep playing. Don’t quit. Just keep going.”

How many times have you been tempted to quit? You feel like you’re doing your best, but it doesn’t quite measure up. More than once you have thought about throwing in the towel. But wait. Stop. Listen. Do you hear the voice of the master, the one who made you? He’s saying, “Don’t give up. Keep going. Don’t stop now.”

That’s always God’s plan for us. It’s always too soon to quit. “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6 NIV).

— The Rev. Ron McClung, a former pastor of Owosso Wesleyan Church, now living in Indianapolis, Indiana, currently serves as associate general secretary for the denomination.

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