I Would Do Anything To

Thoughts on listening to Itzak Perlman play Mozart.

At the conclusion of a chamber concert by a famous concert pianist, an admiring woman rushed forward to greet her. “I’d give anything to play like that,” she gushed.

The pianist replied, “No, you wouldn’t.”

The woman was taken aback by the apparently rude comment. The pianist continued, “You could, maybe, but you would have to take lessons, study, practice playing scales for hours every day, prepare performances. There is much work and discipline behind the ability to play.”

It’s the same in spiritual life. You’re not going to reach John Climacus’s last four steps without going through the previous 26. You can’t skip the practice involved between wanting to and achieving.

Peter in his second sermon recorded in Acts told the people to develop four spiritual disciplines at the beginning of their spiritual journey–study the teaching of the apostles, meet together in small groups, pray, and participate in communion (the Eucharist).

My guitar sits in a corner of my office. Sometimes I pick it up and practice. Often I’m too busy. Oops, not too busy. Rather, deciding to do something else rather than practice daily. I’m only one short step ahead of the woman. I would love to play like Perlman, but I know I never will. I don’t devote myself to the discipline.

On the other hand, I do devote myself to other disciplines. How about you? If you are not, why not? Why not discipline yourself to become spiritually wise?

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