When my two sisters were younger, they liked to play the piano and took lessons for some time. I liked the music but not all the practicing that went along with it!

Sure enough, there was a recital, where all the students in the music class were expected to perform a selection, usually made by the teacher. Each sister spent a lot of time working on her piece of music.

The day for the recital came. Though I don’t remember how many students were in the group, I’ll never forget the overall performance. These children were under 12 years of age, some maybe younger, but each one walked up to the piano or organ and gave it his or her best shot. One other girl sat down at the organ, adjusted the controls, and played her selection flawlessly. It was much the same way for just about all the stduents—except for one.

This student sat down at the instrument, ran some fingers over the keys, looked around, and then in a still, small voice, said, “I don’t know my piece,” and returned to one of the chairs.

I can imagine the shame or embarrassment the child must have felt. This was the time when it counted the most, demonstrating mastery of a given piece of music. How long had the students known that show time was approaching? Did this student have time to practice? Was the event a matter of stage fright? I don’t know what this child was feeling, but I’m sure shame was one of the feelings being experienced.

As believers, we are going to face the music, too, one day. Every believer is going to give an account of his or her deeds before the Lord Jesus Christ. The package of our works, deeds, tries, accomplishments, all of it, will be evaluated by fire (see 1 Cor. 3). Paul gave some very sobering words when he said that if we build with wood, hay or stubble (cut grass!), the materials would be burned completely. If we used quality materials, such as gold, silver or precious stones, our works would remain; we would receive a reward.

None of us has to be ashamed when it counts. Sure, there might be other recitals for a piano class for music students. While we live, every believer can change his or her building materials and choose quality over everything else. After all, isn’t that what matters? Once this package is complete, there’s no going back.

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