The Band Director
January 29, 2019
“…They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:46-47, NIV 1984).
Thad Williams underwent the first bone marrow transplant in Memphis when we treated him for his Burkitt’s lymphoma years ago. He and his wife Cathy became dear friends, bound together by their struggle and by our mutual love for the Lord Jesus Christ. Thad survived the transplant and lived more than 15 additional years before God called him home. Today, my wife and I attended Cathy’s last concert as band director in her city’s high school, a school system she served for 37 years. It was a celebration of Cathy’s life. Many speakers described her accomplishments and lauded her with words like: kindness, competence, mentor, passion and determination—words that well describe our Lord when He walked the earth. With such praise surrounding her, Cathy conducted her final concert as band director, ending with a magnificent arrangement of “God of Our Fathers.”
So many of us focus our lives on accomplishing “great things” for Christ. Cathy instead focused her life on people, loving them and living out the character of Christ.
Just look at the words used at her celebration:
- Kindness: “…Neither do I condemn you…go, and from now on sin no more” (John 8:11, ESV).
- Competence: “…I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day” (John 6:39, NIV 1984).
- Mentor: “So he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet…” (John 13:4-5, NIV 1984).
- Passion: “On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple area and began driving out those who were buying and selling there” (Mark 11:15a, NIV 1984).
- Determination: “…what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!” (John 12:27-28, NIV 1984).
These words affirm Cathy as she chose to live the character of Christ while loving those she served.
Those of us who have pursued goal-oriented lives to the detriment of relational living may have missed our greatest opportunity to touch our world for Christ. This is certainly somewhat true in my life. But, it is never too late to begin. Even now, we can pursue a life where relationship is more important than achievement and character more important than accomplishment, a life more like this band director I love—where relationship and character came first, followed by both accomplishment and achievement. The question is not one or the other, but which one leads the way.
Well done, Cathy. It is good you have lived a life that reminds me of Jesus.
The last words Cathy shared at her celebration, speaking to all those she had trained over the years, were, “This was not about me. This was never about me. This was always about you.”
Will I be able to say the same at my final concert?
Help me to love and touch and let You choose the outcomes.