Have you ever felt discouraged after investing your time, talent, and resources in others, because you but don’t feel like it matters? Me too.
I recall being in a funk, because leading teenagers is not tangible. At that time I got lost thinking more about me than God’s Kingdom. Somewhere in those doldrums I re-watched Mr. Holland’s Opus, a movie I had not seen in a long time. It’s a story about a man who wants to be a great conductor and writer but spends his life as a teacher. Along the way he gets discouraged and doesn’t see the difference he is making in the students’ lives and in the community. He is more focused on what he wants to do instead of what he is actually doing.
The ending of the movie contains the above linked scene. If you don’t have all ten minutes to watch it, please at least watch the minute from 4:10 to 5:30. I love this line: “We are your symphony.”
Mr. Holland spent his life investing in and teaching others. He felt like he missed out when the reality of this character is this—he didn’t miss it, he made it.
As a student pastor or small group leader, you might be discouraged and feel like your life does not matter. It does. One of the tensions of investing in His Kingdom through students is that it’s foundational work. Often you don’t see the results for many years, but it’s vitally important.
Your students, leaders, and community are the symphony of your life. How you lead them now will affect how they lead later. Take the discouragement as a reminder that you are doing something that has eternal value and not temporal value. Ask the Lord to remind you that not only does your life matter, but also He can and will use it to impact others.
Mr. Holland narrowly focused and missed out on some cool moments, because he wanted what he could not get instead of making the most of what he was already given. The same is true for us. God does not make mistakes, and we all have an important role to play. Play your role well instead of wanting to play another’s role. Many of us miss out on great things, because we spend too much time wishing instead of doing.
Your legacy is being written now. Don’t get caught up in what it’s not, get caught up in what it is and can be. Leave the results to Him and be faithful. The symphony of your life might very well be generations affected for Him. And that’s a legacy worth living for.