The Night No One Came
January 6, 2014 — by Julie Ackerman Link
One winter night composer Johann Sebastian Bach was scheduled to debut a new composition. He arrived at the church expecting it to be full. Instead, he learned that no one had come. Without missing a beat, Bach told his musicians that they would still perform as planned. They took their places, Bach raised his baton, and soon the empty church was filled with magnificent music.
This story made me do some soul-searching. Would I write if God were my only audience? How would my writing be different?
New writers are often advised to visualize one person they are writing to as a way of staying focused. I do this when I write devotionals; I try to keep readers in mind because I want to say something they will want to read and that will help them on their spiritual journey.
I doubt that the “devotional writer” David, whose psalms we turn to for comfort and encouragement, had “readers” in mind. The only audience he had in mind was God.
Whether our “deeds,” mentioned in Matthew 6, are works of art or acts of service, we should keep in mind that they’re really between us and God. Whether or not anyone else sees does not matter. He is our audience.
That my ways might show forth Your glory,
That You, dear Lord, greatly deserve!
With Your precious blood You’ve redeemed me—
In all my days, You I would serve! —Somerville
Serve for an audience of one.
If you hadn’t already read today’s Our Daily Bread, you’re welcome. If you had, it’s a message that bears repeating. Its significance to me relates to comments some have made about my wasting time writing without any of my work being published commercially. They refer to it as my “hobby.” I tried to answer such comments coherently, but I was dumbfounded by my critic’s insensitivity.
Now I feel vindicated by Julie Link’s insightful devotional, so if you wish to ignore my scribblings, that’s okay. I’ll write for the Lord if for no one else.
At the moment I’m feeling quite mellow, having spend much of today volunteering at the hospital admitting desk and studying the Bible while not helping folks. And now I’m listening to Chopin while writing for my Lord. Truth is, all of today’s busyness was for my Lord, and I pray that someone I encountered noticed my smile and attributed it to him. Even when I’m relaxing to music or a movie I do it for Jesus. And that’s Biblical(1 Corinthians 10:31).
There is no peace that matches what come from working for your Savior.