Recently I had a chat with my good friend who is the general manager of the Bartlesville Symphony Orchestra. We were talking about her passion, the BSO. “Why would people want to volunteer?” I asked her, “What benefit do they get from it?” We talked for awhile about it, and then moved on to other subjects. A few days went by with the conversation largely forgotten by me until the other day, when I overheard two people talking about volunteering for OK Mozart.
I suddenly had a glimmer of understanding. The benefit of giving time and/or money to any organization is being a part of something bigger than oneself. It goes beyond the tangible and the temporal. Those who align themselves with an organization join community of like minded people all working toward a common goal.
For me, my biggest reason to be a Christian, for example, is the relationship I have with Jesus and what he’s done for me. There are other reasons, however, and one of those reasons is that as a Christian, I am part of something so big, that it is eternal. It has lasted through persecution and the ravages of time and shows itself stronger than dictators and tragedies that would destroy most anything else. In a sense, as I have become a Christian, I have become one with all the tragedies and triumphs of Christianity.
It’s the same way with something as ancient as symphony music. In a sense, when a person allies with the symphony and all that entails, that person becomes part of a creative force so strong, it has lasted through the ravages of time. And just when the symphony looks as if it is dying, it comes back stronger and more relevant to the present than before. When a person becomes a Christian and grows, that person becomes one with the great champions of the faith. When a person volunteers for the symphony, that person becomes one with Beethoven, Chopin, and Mozart, as well as the other great composers and musicians that are classical music.
John Donne was right when he wrote, “No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main…..” When we are part of the main, we belong, we have connection and importance. When we are part of the main, we have an intangible so glorious, that we become larger than one individual amongst billions without losing one iota of our individualism. Each of us has a unique spin and influence on the whole, even though we don’t always see it. Become a dedicated Christian and you become as strong as the faith you have aligned yourself with. You stood with Peter and Paul as they preached, and were martyred. You stood with Dietrich Bonheoffer as he defied the evil Nazi regime and you stand with each person who stands up for the faith. Then as you stood with those who have gone before you, you are given courage from the Lord to stand on your own feet no matter what might threaten you.
Become strong in the Lord Jesus. Grasp his glorious intangible and make a difference in your world.