For The Kingdom: Joy-Filled Living In Difficult Days | Day 57

“Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.” Philippians 4:1

In the 1995 film, Mr. Holland’s Opus, the protagonist Glenn Holland experiences the lows and highs of a 30 year career as a High School Music teacher after setting aside a promising career as a composer to support his wife and deaf newborn son.  Throughout his life journey, he experiences many disappointments, along with isolated moments of breakthrough with a smattering of students spread across the decades.  When the school board votes to cut the music department (and Mr. Holland’s teaching position) from the program, he is left disillusioned, despondent and dismayed that he had wasted his life and talent in a fruitless career.  Only at the conclusion of the film, as friends, family and dozens of current and former students come together to perform his opus for the very first time in a moving and inspirational moment of gratitude and celebration, does he come to finally understand the true nature of his enduring legacy.  Mr. Holland’s Opus was never about the musical notes on the score, but the indelible mark of love that he left on the hearts of every person he encountered.

Great accomplishments are too often overvalued and overrated.  Great love is the true measure of significance in this life.  This is the perspective that Paul presents for us and we would do well to take it to heart.  For Paul, his source of joy was not measured in his achievements- how many churches he planted, how many letters he wrote, how many disciples he made.  His joy was in the deep affection that he had for his beloved brothers and sisters in the Lord.  Seeing them believe, grow and flourish in the Lord was what made his heart leap and his bones burn.  His crowning achievement would not be in an award, recognition or celebration of his legacy, but instead, his crown was the dear people whose names were now included in the book of life.  Whether he would be rewarded, receive commendation or paid homage to meant nothing to Paul.  He was driven solely by love and for love.  

Like Mr. Holland, if you lose sight of your true measure and legacy, you may sink into a season when you also become disillusioned, despondent and dismayed; wondering if you have wasted your life and talent in a fruitless career.  Look up, look around and take note of the impact your love for others is having or may have.  The ones you have been given to love… they are your joy, they are your crown, they are your opus.

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