I never will forget a story I heard years ago. A young prodigy—a pianist—gave his first concert at the Royal Festival Hall in London. His reputation preceded him; the concert was sold out on the day tickets were first available. His brilliance at the piano exceeded all expectancy. When he finished his last piece, the audience went wild. They stood to their feet spontaneously and shouted and cheered.
The young pianist bowed quickly and hurried off stage. But the audience was begging for him to come back. The stage manager whispered to him, “Go quickly—they are yelling for you.”
But the young man wasn’t moving. Instead, he peered through a crack in the curtain, anxiously scanning the audience. “No, I can’t go out there,” he said.
The stage manager was bordering on annoyance: “Look, son, they are on their feet. Trust me; they don’t do this for everybody—go out and enjoy it.”
The boy continued to scan the audience.
Finally, the stage manager cracked; he shouted, “Get out there—they are standing for you!”
The young pianist looked at him and whispered, “They are not all standing. Do you see the old man in the last row from the back? He is still seated.”
“Who cares about one old man?” said the stage manager.
The boy answered with steely determination. “”I care. That’s my teacher. When he stands, I can take that bow.'”
The crowds were still cheering, 2,000 people applauding his skill, his brilliance and the sheer magic of his music. But the young musician knew in his heart that none of that mattered unless his teacher—his mentor—approved.
In truth, he was playing for an audience of one.
The humility of this young prodigy is in contrast to a scene at London’s Heathrow Airport. There was a man in a hurry, but he was 10th in line at Heathrow. For some reason, there was no agent working at the business desk. This man was used to special treatment, used to being in the priority line. He also took himself very seriously. He seethed that he had to wait his turn. He suddenly broke all the rules of etiquette and fair play: He jumped to the front of the line. He said to the check-in person: “Madam, do you know who I am?“ The shrewd lady immediately picked up a phone and made an announcement that came over the loudspeaker: “There’s a man at Desk 14 who does not know his name. So if you know who this might be, would you please come and help him?”
As it happens, that man was not me, but I’m afraid it could have been. I have done the equivalent of that more times than I care to admit. If I could only remember that God in heaven is watching my very move and listening to every word!
Malachi speaks of a scroll of remembrance: “Then those who feared the Lord talked with each other, and the Lord listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the Lord and honored his name” (Mal. 3:16).
Think of these words: The Lord listened and heard.
If you and I could keep this in mind, that the Lord God of heaven and earth—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—is listening to each word we say, I think it would change our lives.
If we could intentionally imagine an audience of one—Jesus Himself—is eavesdropping on our every conversation, it would save us from a lot of regret and stress.
Adapted from For an Audience of One by R.T. Kendall, copyright 2020, published by Charisma House. Many Christians seek the approval of people as much as they seek the approval of God. Don’t let the fear of peoples’ opinion dominate your life. Learn to seek honor and praise from God alone and not people. To order your copy, click on this link.
Prayer Power for the Week of March 15, 2020
This week, increase your devotion to God—and God alone—by increasing your time in personal and private worship and adoration. As your love increases, so will your obedience and motivation to honor Him without the fear of man’s opinion. Continue to pray for worldwide revival as well as against the pandemic of coronavirus as it affects individuals, our nation and the world. Stand in faith against fear while heeding advice from experts fighting the disease. Exercise your faith for healing by using the Word, maintain spiritual and physical cleanliness, and continue to pray for our leaders. Read: 2 Chronicles 7:14, Proverbs 4:7-9 and Malachi 3:16.