by Linda Evans Shepherd @LindaShepherd
When I was four years old, I was picked to sing my first and only church solo.
I so loved it when the pretty ladies would sing in front of the church, and I was surprised that anyone thought a little girl like me should stand in the place of such wonderful singers.
My children’s choir director told me that I was to croon ‘I, Said the Donkey,’ a song about the lowly donkey who carried a very pregnant Mary to the Bethlehem stable, just in time for the birth of Jesus. I liked the story and was impressed that such a shaggy, ordinary beast could be chosen for such an important mission. In my little heart, I secretly hoped that my song would also be important to God.
That Christmas Eve afternoon, I’d practiced the song with my mom. I sang it beautifully, with all the warbling perfection of the neighborhood opera singer who taught private music lessons every afternoon. From my yard, I would sing the scales and mimic her students trilling, at least until my mom would warn, “Stop, she’ll hear you!”
But that Christmas Eve night, as I stood in front of the overflowing crowd filling our large downtown church, I felt surprised to see how many people were actually looking at me, a tiny, skinny girl with bobbed hair.
I took a breath, started the song, and completely forgetting to warble my voice, I launched into a speedy rendition of what I had practiced.
It was over in a flash, and though my mother feigned encouragement, her eyes told me I hadn’t done my best. I felt bad. I had wanted to do something nice for God, something He would like. But had the lisping words of a usually unnoticed girl singing such a pint-size, off-key song, make any kind of difference to God?
The Word says in 1 Corinthians 15:58, “My dear brothers and sisters, stay firmly planted—be unshakable—do many good works in the name of God, and know that all your labor is not for nothing when it is for God” (VOICE).
Our works, no matter how ordinary or off-key, mean something when they are done for God. He loves to see us, his children, honor and serve Him as we sing our songs, care for our loved ones, and love our neighbors.
Today, as you pass out your Christmas gifts to your loved ones, and maybe even open a few yourself, think of the ways you can gift God. too. Maybe through keeping the peace at the holiday table? Or sharing and act of kindness or an encouraging word? With every tiny act of service, do it in love and gift it to God, and that will make all the difference.
Merry Christmas everyone, from the Arise Daily team and the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association.
Linda Evans Shepherd, Arise Daily Publisher and CEO of the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association