Becoming an Expert

Recently my husband and I went on vacation for a few days in Prague. I know – Prague. But we live overseas so we can find super cheap flights.

Anyway, while there, my wonderful husband treated me to a beautiful concert at St. Nicholas Church – a church made famous because Mozart played there. Amazing.

I sat mesmerized by the beautiful music being played by the Prague String Orchestra. It was almost magical listening to Vivaldi, Bach and Mozart being played in this baroque hall.

As I listened my mind started wandering, as it tends to do. I was watching the violin soloist’s face emitting such ecstasy and passion I wondered if I, too, could create such music with a violin. After all, I had taken years of classical piano and have been singing since I was four. Of course the violin would come easy. Plus, didn’t my dad have my grandfather’s old violin? It’s in my blood! I should get it restored and find someone at the local conservatory to teach me.

And then I looked up.

There above the musicians was an enormous, breathtaking fresco of Jesus.
And he was looking down at me. Or so it seemed. In that moment I was reminded of a few very important lessons I’ve learned.

1. Good is the enemy of great. I learned this from Jim Collins book Good to Great.

There are a million and a half things vying for my attention that are all good. Leading worship is good. But if God has something great for me to do that isn’t leading worship I’m not spending my time well. I’m just doing something good because it’s there to do.

Now don’t misunderstand me. I love leading worship and do so when I can. But I also recognize that it is not my calling and so merely a hobby. My great is different. Just like yours.

And so the question in my heart on that moment was:

What do you want to be great at?

And in that instant I knew it wasn’t the violin.

2. It takes 10,000 hours to be an expert. At least that’s what Malcolm Gladwell said in his book Outliers.

I tend to agree with him. Watching the violin soloist as her fingers flew across the strings producing a wondrous sound I can definitely believe she’s spent more than 10,000 hours playing that instrument.

10,000 is a lot of hours. I’m certainly not committed enough to the violin to spend that kind of time.

And then the next question came to my heart:

What do you want to be an expert in?

Do I want to be an expert in the piano? I’m ok, but good enough for my simple purposes.

Do I want to be an expert in Arabic? I spent 2 years of my life studying it. And I do ok. I want to be better because I love the Arab people. But knowing the ins and outs of all the tedious grammar rules is less than exciting. So no, I don’t want to be a true expert in Arabic.

I do want to become an expert in Jesus.

Not a stuffy theologian, b a true expert of his heart. I want to know his voice and be so completely in tune and satisfied in him that obedience comes naturally. I want to be such an expert that I speak of him often with true love and devotion.

And I want to spend amazing amounts of time with Jesus. 10,000 hours doesn’t even come close.

What do you want to be an expert in?

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