Recently I saw the movie Florence Foster Jenkins. Even though the setting was early 1900’s the reviews had all been good, so why not see it. In the beginning I was a bit hesitant about it, but thankfully I had my popcorn to keep me busy as the movie progressed. I’m one of those people that have to have my popcorn. I could go to dinner before the movie, be completely full, but once I get in and the aroma hits my nose – I have to have it! Are you like that? Or you could be like one of my friends who has to have milk duds at the movies. I don’t know what it is about milk duds and popcorn at a movie, I’d like to think they help with concentration.
If you’ve seen it then you can picture the scenes in your head, if not I’ll try to paint the picture. She was a woman who was well to do, and had founded a music club in New York City. Her 2nd husband was the narrator of the performances. She held such a love of music that it spilled over into her own home, and eventually onto Carnagie Hall.
What’s the big deal you may think. Ok, fair. But she could not hold a tune, much less put several together. She had a well known vocal teacher conduct lessons. He would encourage her despite the shrills and shreks that viberated from her vocal chords. She had also hired an young pianist to play while she sang. Everyone was to encourage her. They told her she was spectacular! They told her she sang beautifully!
Is that wrong? If a person has no talent, but filled with courage and passion, should we encourage them to continue? Let’s sit on that for a minute.
As if being tapped on the shoulder I turned my attention to the Apostle Paul, and as if I were in the midst of the crowd at Philipi as his letter was read:
“Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ. Then, whether I come and see you again or only hear about you, I will know that you are standing together with one spirit and one purpose, fighting together for the faith, which is the Good News. 28 Don’t be intimidated in any way by your enemies. This will be a sign to them that they are going to be destroyed, but that you are going to be saved, even by God himself. 29 For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for him. 30 We are in this struggle together. You have seen my struggle in the past, and you know that I am still in the midst of it.” Phil 1:27-30 NLT
I thought of Florence Foster Jenkins. She pressed on, fought the good fight to keep music alive. She was not intimidated, but instead pressed on to rent out Carnagie Hall! And, to top it off – gave 1000 tickets away. I must admit, like the others in the movie, I was shocked too. All of the encouragement she had received pushed her to do, what others only thought – the impossible.
“We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crused. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair.” 2 Cor. 4:8 NLT
What is it in your life that you need courage for? What are you facing that seems by all standards – impossible?
Florence lived with syphyllis and with each day she had no idea if it would be her last, yet that did not stop her. With grace and passion she lived her dreams. She grabbed the moments and each word of encouragement and pressed on. With her as an example – aren’t we to do the same thing for Christ?
Christ does not call us to live by:
- Fear – “They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the LORD to care for them.” Ps. 112:7 NLT
- Regret – ”For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death.” 2 Cor. 7:10 NLT
- Anxiety – “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Pe. 5:7 NIV
- Worry – “People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.” Mt. 6:32b-33MSG
We each have a ministry to fulfill while we are on this planet. I don’t know what God has called you to do? For Florence Foster Jenkins He called her to sing her heart out, enjoy the moment, and live life to enrich others with music. For me He has called me to teach. For now it is to teach in Corporate America. To use the gift of gab to encourage, coach, motivate, and guide others to know how to do their jobs. Along the way I can share the love of Christ thru my actions, and words. A smile here, kind word there. There’ll be no singing from me. No one would encourage that, trust me.
What about you? What’s your song?
I’ve had people say to me:
- “I just don’t know what I want to do with my life.”
- “I’m not sure what God wants me to be?”
- “How will I know?”
Friend, if that’s you, I can’t answer those questions. But what I can tell you is, the lesson I learned before seeing Florence Foster Jenkins. If the doors open by faith, as long as it is not immoral or illegal, walk through it. I thought I was to go to law school and become an attorney. But, after one year God said “not this my child.” The door closed. Had I not followed I would have never met great people whom today I call friends. Learned that I had more in me to give than I thought, and learned out prioritize as to what is important. For one year I sang my heart out.
To know what God has for you, you have to:
- Be IN His Word. Read it. Study it. – Daily.
- Pray – communicate with Him – Daily.
- Watch for those doors to crack open – Daily.
“I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.” Jer. 29:11 MSG
With that get on your stage of Carnegie Hall. Perform like you are the only one in the room. As far as the question of encouraging someone with no talent is right or wrong, well, I will let God be the judge of that. For now you and I are just to follow Him, and perform!
And as the letter to those in Philippi was read we are encouraged by Paul to trust in Christ until the end. Our sustaining power.
“Don’t be intimidated in any way by your enemies. This will be a sign to them that they are going to be destroyed, but that you are going to be saved, even by God himself. For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for him. We are in this struggle together. You have seen my struggle in the past, and you know that I am still in the midst of it.” Phil. 1:28-30 NLT
©Gentle Whisper Ministries 2016
*pictures by clatl, suggest-keywords