God is the master Craftsman lovingly creating each unique instrument, but then He places each unpolished gift into a parent's hands. The violin spends time aging and maturing, sometimes being exposed to sunlight to darken its beautiful grain and expose its hidden beauty. Layers of varnish are added through years in training and teaching. Sadly, some parents don't take the time to brush the varnish on evenly with smooth strokes, and their work is evident in the appearance and behavior of their children. Some parents push the children out into the world without adding a protectant coat, and the instrument is quickly damaged. But those parents who realize the value of the gift God has entrusted to them, lovingly spend years with that brush in hand, patiently waiting for layers of varnish to dry before adding another coat. Each coat takes on a different appearance depending on the circumstances, influences, and culture the child is exposed to.
As the strings are slowly tightened, there are some intense moments as the wood adjusts to the pressure. But as we have completed the work on each instrument and tuned it one last time, our hearts clench and our eyes weep as we watch each child walk away to begin their symphony of life.
Although you came from the same wood, your personalities are different and circumstances changed, so the pigments and dyes added to your varnish will be varied. Each one of you received a different type of polishing, but the purpose was all the same: to shine for Jesus. Your strings have carefully been fitted and tuned to the same tone: to praise the Lord. This is the music we have desired for you to make. This is the sound that will bring such peace to our minds and such joy to our hearts -- that your music be to praise the Lord.
But the polishing and tuning isn't just a one-time project. Now it is up to you, my children, to keep your violin looking its best. It is up to you to keep it in tune to sing the praises of the Lord by keeping your eyes on the Director and your ear always open to His instruction. If a wrong note is played, but quick to correct it and get back in tempo. It is your daily duty to wipe the smudges off through confession of sin, Bible reading, and prayer. You must protect your instrument from damage by listening to instructors who themselves have learned through years of performing.
You are now playing in a larger orchestra than the family band. More people are watching you and listening to you. You are on a bigger stage. You will not sound the exact same as the person next to you because you may have a deep tone as opposed to their smooth tone. But differences add the beauty to the music as long as you are playing the same song. By wisely choosing which orchestra to join, your music will always be beautiful and bring glory to your Maker. Play with knowledge, knowing when to be bold and when to be soothing. Don't be embarrassed to follow the lead violinist for a time, but play with the goal to be that lead some day. Let your "behind-the-scenes" warm-ups and daily practice be as beautiful as the watched performances.
I love you, my instruments of grace!
"Come thou Fount of ever blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy praise!"