Lessons from a Blind Piano Tuner
As a follow up to this Sunday’s sermon, I want to share a true story with you.
In the sermon I talked about my father and his standards of excellence in his chosen field of tuning and restoring pianos. What I did not mention is that he learned those skills from a blind man.
At the age of 12, my father, Bob Robbins, was hired by a blind piano tuner and taught the craft. Now, I learned some of that craft from my father as a teenager, and I can tell you that tuning a piano is no easy task for a person with perfect eye sight. To do it blindly seems impossible to me. Yet this blind man, who would have had an easy excuse to beg on a street corner, decided to make something of himself. He would get around by riding buses and trains and walking as much as a mile down country roads carrying his piano tuning equipment with no seeing eye dog, but only a cane. Sometimes people would meet him at a certain location and pick him up and drive him to their homes to have him tune their pianos. He even did a little repair work to the small, delicate and complicated mechanisms that make pianos work.
Amazingly, this self-made businessman was able to provide a good living for his wife and two daughters. And in doing so he also taught the craft to a motivated 12-year-old boy who helped him get around. My father worked for his mentor from the age of 12 until he left for service in the Army at age 17.
So what’s your excuse? Everyone reading this has been blessed with eyes, and more opportunities and privileges that we know what to do with. But many people also have more excuses for why they are not excelling than you can shake a stick at. They have lived their teenage lives with no responsibility, and live their adult lives similarly.
My dad was out learning a craft and working a job at age 12. TWELVE! Most kids that age are too busy on Facebook and on their cell phones and their Gameboys (or whatever you call them) to do much productive these days. To be out learning a craft under the mentorship of a master craftsman at age 12 is not only unheard of these days, I think perhaps Child Protective Services might want to get involved in a situation like that. Yet at that seemingly tender age, my father was working nights, weekends, and summers assisting his blind mentor and learning the craft — a craft he practiced for 45 years in our community.
The scriptures say that “All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty” (Proverbs 14:23). Too many people in our culture of low standards and entitlement talk too much and do too little. If we want to be people that God can use, we need to DO more and talk less! We need to be people of excellence in the workplace and exceed everyone else for the glory of God. We need to stop complaining about our jobs and bosses and be a blessing to the people who hired us and let God judge whether or not you are being treated fairly. We need to up our game in our churches, in our families, and choose to be excellent with whatever we put our hands to. We need to stop making excuses and start making results instead!
God is not honored with half-hearted efforts and shoddiness. He IS honored when we make Him look good because His people are known by their excellent standards in everything. And when you adopt those standards, you will be in line for promotion in His Kingdom.