A mother took her small child to a concert by Paderewski to expose him to the talent of the great pianist. She hoped as she did to encourage her son in his piano lessons, which he had just begun.
They arrived early at the concert and were seated near the front. Standing alone on the stage was a marvelous Steinway grand piano. As they waited for the concert to begin, the mother entered into a conversation with the people beside her.
Eventually, eight o'clock came, and the lights began to dim. Everyone turned their attention to the stage and the grand piano. The mother looked up and was suddenly horrified. Her son was sitting at the piano and banging out with one little finger, "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star." "Oh no," she thought, "How am I going to get him down?"
As she began to make her way to the platform, Ignace Paderewski himself appeared on stage. He went over and sat down beside the child. He whispered in the child's ear, "Don't quit; keep playing!" As the little boy continued to play, Paderewski reached down with his left hand and began to fill in the bass part.
Then with his right arm around the little boy, he added a running obbligato. Together, the old master and the young novice held the crowd mesmerized.
As God’s children, many times we Christians are tempted to feel like we are spending our lives pecking out meaningless and inconsequential little tunes, thinking as we do that our gifts are just too small for God to use in any significant way. And yet, that is all He desires of us: our willingness to use whatever talent(s) we have been given.
Whenever we attempt something in His name, He comes along beside us, sits down next to us, and whispers in our ear, "Don't quit; keep playing." Then, with His subtle guidance and able assistance, we suddenly find ourselves making beautiful music both with and for God, and enriching the lives of ourselves and of others as we glorify Him.
So, the next time you are tempted to think that your particular skill set is insignificant, or that your life is otherwise without meaning, remember this little story along with the words of the Apostle Paul: “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.” (Phil. 4:13)
Note: This story, in all of its various versions, has long been a staple among speakers and writers, especially preachers. Accordingly, it is posted all over the internet. That there was a famed concert pianist named Paderewski is certainly true. He would later become the Prime Minister of Poland. This particular incident, however, may or may not have actually occurred in his life.
To my knowledge, its authenticity is not confirmed. Thus, it is perhaps best to attribute it to folklore. If so, the probable origins can be found at: http://www.truthorfiction.com/rumors/p/paderewski.htm.
Whether the story itself is true or not, the point made by the story is nonetheless readily apparent.