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No Longer Useful

Curiosity, energy, tireless exploits, and dreaming of new adventures is the gift of all of us when we are young. Children imagine grandiose moments and put themselves in that moment in their imaginary quests with their playmates.  Teens dream of being the focus of accolades and applause for great achievements in sports, music, or theater. Many do achieve some great recognition and do find themselves on a platform receiving an award of high praise. 

Sadly, some people start out with tremendous zeal and ability, but due to an unforeseen heartache or set back, they are crushed by a life event.  Once that happens, they relegate their abilities to a heap of disappointment.  Feeling that they have broken wings that can no longer soar, they live in the doldrums of uselessness.  The epitaph that they fulfill are the words of the poet…” Of all the words of tongue or pen, none sadder than what might have been.”

Nicolo Paganini (1782-1840) was an Italian violinist and a composer, considered by many as the greatest of all time. He received music lessons from his father before he was 6 years old and later from the best instructors in Genoa. He began to perform in public and composed his first sonata in 1790 at the age of 9 years old. In 1795 when he was 13, he went to Parma, Italy to study but the teachers there told him they could do nothing more for him. He then commenced on a course of self-training so rigorous that he often played 15 hours a day. In 1797 he started his concert tours.

His playing of tender passages was so beautiful that his audiences often burst into tears, and yet, he could perform with such force and velocity that at Vienna one listener became half crazed and declared that for some days that he had seen the Devil helping the violinist.

Once his fame was established, Paganini’s life was a mixture of triumphs and personal excesses. He earned large sums of money, but he indulged recklessly in gambling and other forms of dissipation. On one occasion he was forced to pawn his violin. Having requested the loan of a violin from a wealthy French merchant so that he could fulfill an engagement, he was given a Guarnerius violin by the merchant and later refused to take it back when the concert was over. It was Paganini’s treasure and was bequeathed to the people of Genoa by the violinist and is still carefully preserved in that city(http://www.paganini.com/nicolo/nicindex.htm).

The terms by which Panini agreed to leave his violin to the city of Genoa is a picture of what happens when an object or a person ceases to be active in “doing” what one was designed to do. The absence of blessing on a life withdrawn from service is dissipation and uselessness. Paganini willed his marvelous violin to city of Genoa on condition that it must never be played. The wood of such an instrument, while used and handled, wears only slightly, but set aside, it begins to decay. Paganini’s lovely violin has today become worm-eaten and useless except as a relic. A Christian’s unwillingness to serve may soon destroy his capacity for usefulness.  (Copied).

2 Chron. 15:7 – But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.”  

Gal.6:9Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.  Isaiah 40:31 – Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint.