One evening Niccolo Paganini, the nineteenth-century violinist, was performing before a packed house and playing through a number of difficult pieces when one after another the strings began to break on his violin - he finished on one string! As expected, the audience jumped to its feet clapping and cheering loudly, never asking for an encore. Paganini, seizing the moment and with a twinkle in his eye and a smile on his face shouted, "Paganini on one string!" As the audience sat in amazement, he played the entire concerto again on one string!
You may be wonder why I'm telling this story? It's because I've been in ministry long enough and heard too many stories to know that life is difficult and often not fair. Because of life, you may feel like you're down to one string. The tragedy is, instead of seeing the one string you have left, you focus on the three that have snapped giving rise to a sense of bitterness, sorrow, self-pity, and perhaps even blame. I understand, probably not exactly, but enough to know what its like to have been dealt a bad hand. You may feel like three of your strings have broken and you deserve four like everybody else, but don't forget the string remaining is the greatest string...your attitude.
As Chuck Swindoll said:
The longer I live the more I realize the incredible impact of attitude on life. You may not like this but attitude is more important than facts, it is more important than the past, education, money, circumstances, failures, successes, than what other people think, say, or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill; it will make or break a company, it will cause a church to soar or to sink. It will be the difference between a happy home or a home of horror. It's attitude, and the remarkable thing is that you have a choice everyday regarding the attitude you will embrace for that day.
You can focus your life on the three strings that dangle, or you can play your melody on one and oh the difference it makes.
We cannot change our past. We cannot change the tick of the clock. We cannot change that march toward death. We cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way and do certain things, we cannot change the inevitable, those are the strings that dangle. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have and that is our attitude. Life is 10% what happens to me, and 90% how I react to it.
And so it is with you. Our attitude keeps us going or it cripples our progress. It alone fuels our fire or assaults our hopes. When our attitude is right, there is no barrier too high, no valley too deep, no dream too great, no challenge too tall.
"Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus... Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me-everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you." Philippians 4:6-9
May that be in our prayers, may that be in our minds, may that be our attitude in 2014.
Glorify God and enjoy Him forever,