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Wouldn't it be great if being a Christian was as easy accepting two free lessons in a no-risk, guaranteed money-back offer?

Junk mail. We all get it!

One particular item in the pile strewn across my kitchen table jumped out at me. Maybe it was the decorative musical notes, or the bold type that announced an offer nobody could resist: "have you ever watched someone playing piano and wished … 'If only I could play like that?' Making your dream come true just got a lot easier. Send today for your first two lessons and a 15-day Free Trial. Discover just how easy it is to learn to play piano."

If only I had learned to play piano as quickly as stated in that ad.

If I didn't already play, I would have jumped at the chance to learn from this mail-in brochure. After all, this course came "with no risk or obligation" and at a cost that was "just a fraction of what you'd spend for private lessons. You just supply the piano, organ, or keyboard and before your first lesson is over, you'll be playing some favourite tunes. Everyone can do it. Age or musical knowledge doesn't matter."

As I read the ad, my mind wandered back to my childhood. I grew up with five siblings, all of whom at one time or the other took piano lessons. My mother made sure that we all made it to our lessons on time with dictation books and conservatory books in tow while my father shared the distinct pleasure of listening to us practice throughout the day. I remember him making porridge as I banged away during the first practice time slot at seven o'clock in the morning.

Pieces were endlessly played, scales were run up and down and up again, and the timer kept ticking as I put in my half-hour. And then there were the piano exams, Kiwanis festivals and June recitals that always seemed to take place on the hottest day of the year.

If only I had learned to play piano as quickly as stated in that ad. It didn't come overnight and I had to live through the mistakes, the frustrations and even the nerves in order to become a mature player. In fact, I have now been playing for more than thirty years and I am still learning how to perfect my art. It takes time, talent and patience.

Sometimes people look for spiritual shortcuts. Wouldn't it be wonderful if becoming a Christian were as easy as a mail-in piano course? You could just read your Bible, pray and live happily ever after. However, reality is often quite different. Paul's letters to early Christians are riddled with words such as "endurance," "patience," and "hardship." I am able to see God's hand at work in my life through hardships and mistakes, but it is often only in hindsight that I see His guidance.

I wish some of my friends would take Christ up on His trial offer. He could give them something He has already paid for, plus the free gift of salvation. And, as the piano ad reads, "There's nothing to hold you back. There's no reason to wait any longer. You just have to get over the first hurdle—the decision to finally do it."

The road after that decision may be rough and, unlike the ad, there is risk and obligation. But the rewards are eternal.

Dawn Martens is a Hamilton organist and choir director as well as a music teacher in the Hamilton-Wentworth School Board.

Originally published in the Fellowship Magazine, March 2004.
www.fellowshipmagazine.org

 

 
 
 
 

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