(This is a sermon that my pastor Brother Johnny Wade preached. He has told me that everything he preaches is “public domain.” I’d like to pass this one on to you.)
If you want to have something, the way to go after it is with everything you’ve got.
My mother and I used to have a discussion about my son Jon and his piano playing. My mother would say, “Johnny, I believe that Jonathan has talent.”
And I would say, “Mother, I think that Jonathan has desire.”
She said, “It just comes so easy for him.”
I said, “Mother, I watched him. He didn’t just walk over to the piano and one day sit down and play.”
The first I ever noticed Jon’s desire, I had an old piano that I had bought, an antique, sitting on the front porch of our house. Nobody in our house could play one. But I observed Jonathan, probably at six or seven years old. He would be out in front of the piano, running his fingers up and down. He would run his fingers way up the keyboard and then way down there. But he wouldn’t touch a key.
He knew that if he did, he would disrupt the music that he heard. In his mind, he was hearing this beautiful song. He didn’t want to mess it up, so he didn’t touch the keys. He didn’t know how to do what was in his head.
There was a desire in his heart. He wanted that almost more than anything else.
We sent him to piano lessons. We sent him and our daughter Lisa to the same teacher. We didn’t have any money, so they shared the lesson. Jonathan got fifteen minutes, and Lisa got fifteen minutes of a thirty-minute lesson. Actually, Lisa was ahead of Jonathan. She was a little older. She was a better piano player for two or three years.
Today, Lisa will tell you, “I can’t play the piano.”
We used to say, “Lisa, practice your lesson.”
I don’t ever remember telling Jonathan to practice a lesson. I don’t remember ever telling him, “You will sit at that piano and practice for half an hour.”
No, what we had to do for Jonathan was say, “You cannot stay at the piano for longer than half an hour.” That was the difference.
Jonathan wanted to hear beautiful music someday from his fingers. He had great desire.
I don’t know where we got the money to send them to a college seminar where they would go all morning, playing on a grand piano. The teacher had them in a circle, and they played. Somehow, we were able to send both Jon and Lisa to that.
That was a turning point for Jon. It increased his desire. From that point on, Jonathan went ahead of Lisa in what he could do on the piano.
We continued to do our best to send them to music lessons. We gave both of them opportunity, but the desire that Jon had was stronger than what Lisa had. Lisa wouldn’t have minded playing the piano. (I wouldn’t mind playing the piano either! But I don’t want to sit at the piano for four hours of the day to learn how.)
You could tell it was bedtime because the children would be hollering down the stairs, “Dad, make Jon get off the piano! We want to go to sleep!”
We would say, “Jon, it’s time to get off. We’d like to go to bed.”
Do you know how he got off the piano? He would play the piano as he walked past it. Then….one last note.
Talk about desire…how bad do you want to serve the Lord?
What do you do when no one’s around telling you, “You need to do it. You need to do it. You need to do it.”
Every time that you have a little bit of spare time, do you say, “What can I do to improve this? What can I do?”
Do you take instruction?
That was another turning point for Jon. One time his cousin Vicky showed him how to chord. He was off and running.
There are times when God tries to give you instructions. Maybe someone comes along and shows you how to do a more excellent job. Do you think, “I don’t want to hear it? I know what I’m doing.”
But if you desire in your heart to excel at what you’re doing, you are going to say, “Yes, I want to hear it. I want to know it. Show me!”
Jon wanted to know.
There are times that God tries to show you things. I’ve heard people tell me, “Well if God shows me…”
I’ll go along with that. But how does He have to show you? Does He have to send a donkey? Do you want a booming voice from heaven? Is that what you’re looking for?
Or are you willing to be sitting in a service and have someone get up and say, “You know, the Lord showed me years ago that if I would do such and such, how much it would help me.”
Boom! All of a sudden, there is the word of the Lord. You get a hold of that and think, “I could do that.” And you start putting that into your life. Then your walk starts getting better.
How bad do you want to hear sweet music? How bad do you want to hear God say, “Well done thy good and faithful servant”?