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Thoughts from a Musician's Heart

"Not Whatever You Are Trained To Do"

Most artists and musicians are out of work right now and I’m no different. When we reached day 70 of “15 Days to Stop the Spread of Coronavirus,” I knew I would need to find a steady source of income, so I started a part-time job at a “major home improvement store” near my home and was assigned to the tool rental center.

A few weeks ago, the region was hit by tropical storm Isaias, which caused wide power outages. Generators were the popular item for the next couple of days with over 50 rental inquiries the day after the storm. A customer came in to the department, probably in his early-60’s. “Do you have any generators to rent,” he asked? I said, “We had one come back just a few minutes ago.” I brought the unit over and gave him some instructions since he had never used a generator before. “How much can I plug in?” I replied, “You can plug in your refrigerator, a lamp, a fan, charge your phone - things like that.” He asked, “Can it run an air conditioner?” “If it’s a small window unit, it would probably work,” I said. What he told me next revealed the Lord’s purposes.

“I want to get this because I’m taking care of my 92-year-old mother. She’s in Hospice care and is on an oxygen machine. Since I don’t have power, the doctors suggested moving her to a care facility and I really don’t want to do that with COVID. I’d also have to get an ambulance to transfer her. If I can power her oxygen machine and the air conditioner, she could be comfortable and I wouldn’t have to move her.”

We began writing up the contract when my co-worker, having just returned from a break, felt the need to explain the benefits of installing a whole-house generator and how we could take his information for an installation referral. My co-worker’s attempt to make a sale was poorly timed and quite insensitive, but the customer was gracious in his decline.

As we were finishing up the contract, he thanked me for my help and said, fighting back tears, “It’s been really difficult trying to keep my mother comfortable with the virus and now this storm. I really appreciate your kindness.”

After he left, I had to fight back my own tears. With a master’s degree in music and 30-years of performing experience, I don’t know why God would allow the disruption of artistic expression in the world and place me in a tool rental center. But, in that moment, I realized that I was placed there for His purposes and not mine. Colossians 3:23-24 says, “Whatever you do” – not whatever you are TRAINED to do, or whatever you LIKE to do – “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” Soli Deo Gloria.

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