The story is told of a king who had experienced all kinds of entertainment except for music. So, he commissioned members of the royal court to search the kingdom until they found enough musically talented people to make up a royal orchestra.
Within the kingdom was one brilliant musician who had mastered every type of instrument there was. Naturally, he was included, though he was not terrible enthused about playing for the king–until he heard that the king would reward the musicians if he was pleased with them.
When the day came to choose instruments to play, he reasoned with himself, “That fat oaf likely has no real appreciation for music, so I will take the easy way out and not burden myself.” And he chose to play the smallest instrument in the orchestra–the piccolo.
Since he was hands down the best musician in the lot, he was chosen to be concert master–the position second only to the conductor.
During the many weeks that followed, the orchestra rehearsed and rehearsed, with the piccolo player haranguing and harassing the other members to do better. For him, it was easy, both physically and musically. But for the others who carried larger instruments and smaller talent, it was a grueling task to prepare for the king’s concert.
Finally, the day of the concert came. The orchestra played spectacularly. Symphonies. Marches. Overtures. Adagios. Sonatas. Every kind of classical work imaginable. The king was enthralled.
When the concert was over, the king left the hall without a word spoken. The treasurer approached the musicians and led them down a corridor to the treasury, where he opened the doors and revealed wealth such as no one had ever imagined.
Then he turned to the musicians and told them, “You may enter the treasury and take as much of the gold and gems as you can put inside your instruments.”
So there they were, carrying their instruments. Tubas. A bass drum. Two kettle drums. All sorts of musical instruments of every kind. And one regretful man with his tiny little piccolo.
So many of us live our lives cautiously, not willing to take on burdens, and certainly not willing to place ourselves in situations where we will incur presecution or ridicule or criticism for our faith. Jesus had something to say for those who are willing to take on the hard life for Him.
“Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake. Rejoice and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” Matthew 5:10-12 (KJV)