When I was fifteen years old, I met a man who played the trumpet on a professional level. I was going into tenth grade and had played the trumpet since fourth grade. I had not really been serious in my practice habits. I met this man during a summer vacation at a Bible Conference. He played the offertory every night at the meetings. My mother asked him to listen to me play the trumpet. I was so embarrassed. I played for him one morning, and he asked me to play the offertory with him that night at the meeting. I was amazed.
All through that week, we met every morning to memorize a song for the next night’s offertory. I played every night that week with him for the time of gathering the offering. We went home from that vacation, and I was really overwhelmed that I had had that opportunity. About seven months later we received a phone call from this man asking if I would like to play in the Philadelphia Civic Center in an orchestra accompanying a 200-voice choir. I thought the man was joking. He was not joking.
My mother and I traveled to Philadelphia for dress rehearsal one night, and we performed the Easter Cantata, “No Greater Love,” the next night. The director of the orchestra and choir was John W. Peterson himself. He had written all the music and words to the songs. What an incredible privilege for a 15-year-old boy! I was truly undeserving of this honor. I was not there because I was an accomplished trumpeter; I was there because I knew someone who was accomplished. I had not earned the right to be in that orchestra but was there because someone extended grace to me.
Today I read, “LORD, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? Who shall dwell in thy holy hill” (Psalm 15:1)? The reality is that none of us is deserving of such an incredible honor. Following this verse, I have written in my Bible, “Only by the grace of God.” I have no right to abide in the tabernacle of God. I have no right to dwell in His holy hill. It is only by the incredible grace of God that any of us have this privilege. I certainly have no merit of my own that has earned me the right to be in the presence of God. I am there because I know Someone.
Daily I am amazed that I know the very Son of God! I know Him so personally that He has affected my behavior. He has influenced every part of my life. I want to please Him and do the things that He made me to do. As I think about this, I am constantly reminded that I am undeserving. I enjoyed playing in the orchestra, and I enjoy being a child of God!