Mendelssohn one day went into a little village church and sat listening for a time to the organist as he sat playing. After a time he went up to him and asked to be allowed to play the organ. 'I never allow anyone to play my organ,' said the organist. The stranger persisted and he reluctantly yielded. Quietly the stranger took his place at the instrument and, as his hands moved gently over the keys, there burst from that little organ such strains of music as never before had filled that place of worship. The organist was spellbound, and when, on asking the stranger who he was, he learnt that it was Mendelssohn, the organist said, 'How could I have kept my organ from the great Master-player?'
(Rom. 6. 13; 12. 1, 2; 1 Pet. 3. 15)
It was advertised in one of our large cities that a great violinist would play on a violin worth a thousand dollars. The theatre was packed. Many came as much to see the fine violin as to hear the music. The violinist came out and played, and the people were enraptured. But suddenly he threw the violin down and stamped on it, crushed it into matchwood and walked off the stage. The people were shocked, and thought the man must have lost his mind to destroy such a lovely and costly instrument. Then the manager came on and addressed the audience, saying, 'Friends, the violinist has not been playing on the thousand-dollar violin yet. The instrument you have heard he bought at a second-hand store for 65 cents. He will play on the thousand-dollar violin now.'
And so he did, and there were few people in the audience who could tell any difference. He simply wanted to show them that it is the violinist rather than the violin that makes the music. You may be a 65-cent fiddle, but the Master will make music upon you if yielded to Him.—Sunday School Times
(Acts 4. 13-14; Rom. 12. 1, 2)
'Twas battered and scarred, and the auctioneer
Thought it scarcely worth his while
To spend much time on the old violin,
But he held it up with a smile.
`What am I bidden for this?' he cried.
`Who'll start the bidding for me?
A dollar—one dollar: then two—only two:
Two dollars are bidden; say three.
`Three dollars once: three dollars twice:
Going for three!' But lo!
From the back of the crowd a grey-haired man
Came forward and picked up the bow.
Then, wiping the dust from the old violin
And tight'ning the loosened strings,
He played a melody passing sweet,
The kind that haunts and clings.
The music ceased, and the auctioneer,
With a voice that was soft and low,
Said, 'Now what is bid for the old violin?'
And he held it up with the bow.
`A thousand dollars: who'll make it two?
Two—two thousand: say three.
Three thousand once, three thousand twice,
Three thousand—gone!' said he.
The people cheered, but some exclaimed,
`We do not quite understand
What changed its worth:' and the answer came,
`Twas the touch of a Master's hand.'
And many a man with soul out of tune,
And battered and scarred by sin,
Is auctioned cheap by the thoughtless crowd,
Just like the old violin.
But the Master comes, and the foolish crowd
Never can quite understand
The worth of a soul, and the change that is wrought
By the touch of the Master's hand.
O Master! I am the tuneless one:
Lay, lay Thy hand on me,
Transform me now, put a song in my heart
Of melody, Lord, to Thee.
(Rom. 6. 16; 12. 1, 2; 2 Cor. 3. 18)
`What is in thy hand, Abel?'
`Nothing but a wee lamb, O God, taken from the flock. I purpose offering it to Thee, a willing sacrifice.'
And so he did. And the sweet smell of that burning has been filling the air ever since, and constantly going up to God as a perpetual sacrifice of praise.
`What is in thy hand, Moses?'
`Nothing but a staff, O God, with which I tend my flock.'
'Take it, and use it for me.'
And he did; and with it wrought more wondrous things than Egypt and her proud king had seen before.
`Mary, what is that thou hast in thy hand?'
`Nothing but a pot of sweet-smelling ointment, O God, wherewith I would anoint Thy Holy One, called Jesus.'
And so she did; and not only did the perfume fill all the house in which they were, but the Bible-reading world has been fragrant with the memory of this act of love, which has ever since been spoken of 'for a memorial of her.'
`Poor woman, what is that thou hast in thy hand?'
`Only two mites, Lord. It is very little; but then it is all I have and I would put it into Thy treasury.'
And so she did; and the story of her generous giving has ever since wrought like a charm in prompting others to give to the Lord.
`What is that thou hast in thy hand, Dorcas?'
`Only a needle, Lord.'
`Take it and use it for Me.'
And so she did; and not only were the suffering poor of Joppa warmly clad, but, inspired by her loving life, 'Dorcas Societies' still continue their benign mission to the necessitous poor throughout the world.—The Monthly Broadcast
(Exod. 4. 2; Mark 12. 42; John 12. 3; Acts 9. 39)