I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:14 NRSV)
As a child Lawrence Welk was fascinated by his father's accordion, an heirloom which had been brought from Europe. In the summer after fourth grade, Lawrence suffered a ruptured appendix, spent seven weeks in the hospital and three months at home in bed. During his time at home, his parents let him play his father's accordion. Within that time he taught himself many tunes.
In his teen years he bought a mail order accordion for $15.00. "Unequal to his enthusiasm," says one writer, "it soon broke." He told his father that in return for the $400.00 he needed to buy a good accordion he would work on the family farm until he was twenty-one and give his father all the money he earned playing his prized musical instrument. He played at weddings, birthdays, and dances while keeping his promise.
The worst moment of his life occurred after a dance in South Dakota, when he overheard one of the other band members complain, "Did you get a load of that accordionist? If I had to play every night with him, I'd go back to jerking sodas." To normal measures of success, Lawrence Welk seemed like a failure who would go nowhere. "The Lawrence Welk Show" premiered on television in 1955. Most people would rate Lawrence Welk as a somewhat ordinary musician, yet forty million people watched his program every Saturday night.
Perhaps Welk wasn't a great musician, but he provided many people with an abundance of pleasure. Actually, Lawrence Welk would have fit in well with the disciples of Jesus. God is able to see potential in people that we often miss.
God of all, help me to see my own potential and the potential in others. In Jesus' name, Amen.