Praise God with a blast on the trumpet, praise by strumming soft strings; Praise him with castanets and dance, praise him with banjo and flute; Praise him with cymbals and a big bass drum, praise him with fiddles and mandolin. Let every living, breathing creature praise God! Hallelujah! -Psalm 150 – The Message
Generally, I’m not the extravagant type.But it would be very easy for me to break ranks with my sensible side and begin to collect guitars. I love the way they sound, I love the way they look, I love the way they feel.
Once in a while, I find myself scrolling through guitar-store websites and imagining a couple of rare specimens hanging on the wall of my study, or I duck into The Guitar Center in Tampa for an hour, or visit the bookstore to leaf through a glossy coffee-table volume of museum quality instruments.
Visiting Seattle, we spent an afternoon in Paul Allen’s astounding guitar museum opposite the Space Needle. Oh, what I could do with a few billion spare dollars….
JUST LOOKING: During a recent speaking trip to California I enjoyed a tour of the Taylor Guitar factory in San Diego, and now my dream is to pick out my own piece of wood at one end of the facility and hand-walk my custom T3 semi-hollow-body through the shop.
I’ve even crunched the numbers occasionally. You know, just to dream. But then a day like yesterday comes along where I filled BOTH our vehicles at the gas station, and – $123 later – reality sets back in.
But I’m not guitar poor. I’m more guitar greedy. We have three wonderful instruments, and I even know how to play them.
HISTORY: My Ovation Balladeer (circa 1976) is loaded with the most emotional mileage, and it still sings with a pure voice. In 1977, when Rebekah and I first started dating, I would write songs for her and play them on a beat-up nylon-stringed classical guitar. It was part of the falling-in-love process, and led to what still ranks as probably my best Christmas present ever.
At Columbia Seminary (Decatur, GA) Rebekah had a professor who owned a beautiful Ovation acoustic guitar. She noticed it in his office and asked about the brand. Then, after we married in the summer of 1979, Dr. Pete told Rebekah he probably wasn’t playing enough and offered to sell it to her for $300.
Believe me, when you’re in seminary and newly married, $300 is about as reachable as the moon. But Rebekah solicited the help of her entire family, kept the project a secret, and surprised me with the phenomenal “from the heart” gift our first Christmas.
MUSIC: It was an amazing gift on many levels. I still play my Balladeer several times a week, and I still sing Rebekah love songs, but most of all – hanging on the wall above my computer – the guitar reminds me that such a fine instrument is designed to be played, and it’s always a tragic waste for anything created with a purpose to just sit, gathering dust.
Sometimes, when I am tired, overwhelmed or discouraged, I think about archiving my gifts and just coasting for a while. But that would be more than a shame, it would be a crime against Creation. Because I have a purpose and God has a plan.
We all have so much to contribute and this world is such a needy place. My purpose – and yours – always involves allowing the Creator to make beautiful music with my/our life-song. We are exclusive and carefully crafted one-of-a-kind designs.
For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.
I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;
Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them.- Psalm 139: 13-16