A violinist once stood before an audience and enraptured them with his artistry. Suddenly, in the middle of his performance, he took the violin from beneath his chin and smashed it into pieces. The audience was shocked and bewildered.
The violinist walked across the stage and spoke: "Do not be alarmed. The violin I just broke was one I had purchased for a few hundred dollars. I will now play upon my Stradivarius."
He unpacked the valuable instrument, tuned it and began to play. The violinist played with dazzling virtuosity but his second performance was no better than the first.
When the artist concluded, he again spoke to the audience, "So much has been said about the value of this celebrated violin that I wanted to prove to you that the music is not in the instrument but in the hands of the person who plays it."
Our performance in life depends on us and not the instruments we play. Whether in our relationship to God or other people, we succeed when we give our best. In the Bible, God instructs the Jewish people about the commandment during historic times to bring first fruits to the Temple.
Yet, the message of the first fruit is timeless. The essence of this concept is to remind us to give our very best in the service of God and humanity. Where do we channel our passion and talents? Do we pursue transient goals with our resources and energy or do put first things first in our lives?
Spend some time this coming weekend and identify your four most important life goals. Ask yourself what accomplishments in your life would give you the most spiritual satisfaction. Use your answers as a guidepost each day to ensure that you give your best to achieve these personal aspirations in your life.
God's gifts to us are the talents we possess and our gift to God are the songs we sing, the music we play and the harmony we create.
Rabbi Daniel Cohen
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