Touch of the Master’s Hand

August 6, 2008 | By | Add a Comment

I was visiting a church one day in Florida and was treated to a special performance by one of the parishioners. He got up there and was about to sing a special song that he had been working on. I was looking forward to listening because I like music and it would be a good way to pass the time and sometimes these performances are quite good. However, that was not the case with this man. As a matter of fact, he was terrible. His voice cracked and shook and was almost as out of tune as his guitar.

Sometimes you have to ask yourself why you remember something that is so forgettable. There is a reason his performance stuck with me for so long. He was the opposite of polished, but in many ways he was better than polished. He was raw. He was genuine. He sang from a lowly and unassuming heart that had been touched by someone who saw something in him that he couldn’t see in himself.

So much of our culture is predicated on being better than others. Whether it be having better stuff, being a better athlete, or being better looking – everyone seems to want to outdo everyone else. I think what it boils down to is a sense of worth. If I a better, I am worth more. I think that you can usually tell how much you are valued by another and I can’t think of many people who want to be passed over, ignored, and pushed aside.

As I think back on that performance, I can’t help but feel convicted for the ways I categorize people and place more value on some than others. The man who sang on that stage initially didn’t have a lot of worth in my eyes, but his words reminded me that there is a system of worth much different than the system I so often buy into.

I remember being in middle school when Arnold Schwarzenegger decided to come to my hometown of Goffstown, New Hampshire. Things like this don’t happen very often in Goffstown. Actually, things like this never happen in Goffstown. The streets were lined as we all waited to watch him waive as his limousine drove by. I was much shorter back then and was just hoping to catch a glimpse of the star when he passed.

Going much further back in history, there was another small man in a crowd as the King happened to be going through town and was about to pass by. Zaccheus was not well regarded by others and probably didn’t hold himself in too high esteem either. But the King saw the outcast, wanted to meet with him and called him out of the crowd by name. After his encounter with the King, Zaccheus was never the same.

It would have been like Arnold stopping the limousine and saying “hey, you, scrawny kid from nowhere, new hampshire way back there, I want you to train with me”. It would be harder to see yourself as worthless if Arnold believed in you. It would be harder to see yourself as not having value after knowing that the King had put everything on hold in order to spend time with you. In a moment, everything has changed.

The song the man performed was called “The Touch of The Master’s Hand” and was written by a wheelchair bound woman with severe arthritis. There is no doubt that the man in church picked this song because it resonated with something deep inside of him. Check out the lyrics and you’ll see why.

I imagine that he was picked on in school. I doubt many girls wanted to dance with him at the prom. My guess is that he is still waiting for his 15 minutes of fame. But sometimes the last become first, the poor have great wealth, the uninvited have the best celebration and the weak are in better shape than the strong. Things that are not are called as though they were and myself, Zaccheus, and the man singing the song off key join with the foolish, weak, ugly, lonely, forgotten, shameful and lost to eventually discover that we mean something to somebody and are priceless to the only one whose opinion truly matters.

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