Little by Little

by Matt Borja

And the LORD thy God will put out those nations before thee by little and little: thou mayest not consume them at once, lest the beasts of the field increase upon thee.

You ever get discouraged when you see someone else do the same thing you do, only "a million times" better? I know I do. For me, it's the piano.

I've recently been watching orientation and tutorial videos on navigating the NORD Stage piano; to become more familiar with what may be required of me in the event I need to start mixing patches for worship, etc. Of course, it's not enough for the masters to just show you a technical walkthrough of the system for purely academic purposes; they have to play it as well!

(Aside: I just decided purely on a whim that I now want to learn how to play Jazz...just saying!)

I would love to be able to play guitar half as well as my worship leader someday; but I'm almost convinced that'll never happen (I'm feeling the little mousey callouses on my fingertips as I'm typing this statement, suggesting a different opinion, but that's still going to be quite a ways off). However, when it comes to piano and looking back at what God has brought me through and what God has brought me to today; and the space he's created for me here on this worship team, I'm more inclined to believe that in time...well, let's just say that God can use the weakest to confound the wise. I've already seen him do it.

I would love to be able to play guitar half as well as my worship leader someday; but I'm almost convinced that'll never happen (I'm feeling the little mousey callouses on my fingertips as I'm typing this statement, suggesting a different opinion, but that's still going to be quite a ways off). However, when it comes to piano and looking back at what God has brought me through and what God has brought me to today; and the space he's created for me here on this worship team, I'm more inclined to believe that, in time...well, let's just say God knows exactly how to take the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised; as I've seen him do: week in and week out.

What is the secret to becoming one of the greats? To be honest, I don't precisely know, but I have a sneaking suspicion that it might have something to do with this idea of greatness comprised of smallness (Deuteronomy 7:22). In fact, it even expresses it in terms of operational outcomes: incremental success.

In other words, you're not going to get to greatness by taking the easy way out, looking up cheat codes ("how do you turn this thing on" anyways?), reading about it, spending hours watching YouTube videos, fast-tracking your way through some crash course, or throwing more money at the thing to get anything to churn out results faster.

It's a form of internal conditioning (requirement) that no external, instant gratification methodology can satisfy. We say, "it's a marathon, not a sprint." It's slowing down to do things the right way; not the profitable, disposable worker, objectifying way. It's being mindful of the process (the heart behind any goal) and the enduring strength of authentic camaraderie. As John Mark Comer recites, "it's giving our souls time to catch up to our bodies."

God advised the children of Israel that their victories would not be granted all at once; for in doing so, they would be destroyed by their own lack of conditioning and preparedness to handle other natural dangers throughout the land. In this way, it was God's plan of perseverance and longevity that he did not just do everything for them, when they wanted him to, in the way that they wanted him to. Sound familiar?

Little by little, God takes our faithfulness and turns it into mastery. Little by little, God takes our mundane and turns it into victory. Little by little, God takes our rehearsals, and turns them into Spirit-filled worship. Little by little, God chooses out the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: that no flesh should glory in his presence.

Greatness to greatness; little by little.

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