One of my first paid public performances as a musician was a wedding reception. I was in high school and frequently collaborated with an older cousin who played keyboards. Sharing a common love of jazz and pop music, we created a repertoire of well-known jazz standards and Beatles tunes. One day, my cousin phoned me and inquired whether I would be interested in playing music for his friend’s wedding reception. I was interested but uncertain why anyone would want to hire two untested amateurs? He reassured me that his friends did not have much money for a lavish affair, renting out a local gymnasium that had a stage. Sounded harmless. I agreed.
At the reception, we set up on the stage facing about a hundred guests. After being introduced, my cousin and I nervously launched into our set. We quickly settled into a comfortable groove, smiles flashing between us as we were certain the audience was also feeling it. After one hour of performing, we finished our set and waited for a thanks from the emcee and the expected applause. It was at that moment we realized that no one was listening to us. Well, actually, that was not correct. One person was and he made everyone aware they should also be.
“C’mon everyone, give these guys a hand, they’re great!”
It was the clown, hired to entertain the children. His call for an ovation was met with a tepid polite applause.
“Oh, come on! They were great!” This bizarre figure with a strawberry-red wig, white faced makeup, and loud polka-dot tie, clapped his oversized white gloved hands in a surreal attempt to rouse the disinterested audience. I turned to my cousin, whose forlorn expression did not invite further conversation, and whispered, “At least the clown liked us!”
It was painful and humiliating. Hours of preparation, hopeful and confident that we would be successful, but upon completion, our efforts were not appreciated and ignored. Years later, my cousin and I have reminisced with laughter but other experiences are not as fondly recalled. Completing a project for work, organizing a charity program, creating a teaching program for fellow church members-all of these and more have sometimes been received with indifference, even disdain.
But you, take courage! Do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded.
2 Chronicles 15:7 (ESV)
We should always extend grace to everyone with whom we interact. But although it is my expectation of others, so often I am hypocritical, seeking immediate gratification from others instead of accepting the truth that I am not someone deserving of accolades for my work, but simply an unworthy servant of God, doing my duty as He has commanded of me (Luke 17:10). God continues to change my heart, transforming and conforming into the image of His Son, Jesus Christ. My reward is not the accolades from man but the opportunity to serve God who granted me salvation through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.