There is a hushed silence as the curtain rises upon the symphony orchestra. The conductor enters with dignity, bows low and takes his place. His baton is upraised, commanding the attention of all. As he begins to lead the symphony, all are keenly aware of his leadership and direction. A vast array of instruments is spread before him. There is the violin and the cello. the clarinet and the oboe, the trumpet and the trombone, besides a host of others. All are different, but all have a special piece to play, a special contribution to make. The flute is very different from the French horn, but each is vital.
Note how each player keeps his eye on the conductor. The conductor's mood is seized and interpreted by each player. At times his arms move gently and slowly, and the music becomes tranquil and peaceful. His thoughtful mood is heard in the pensive notes that fill the air. Then the mood changes. His arms move dynamically and powerfully, and as the players catch the spirit, the music surges and rolls with powerful emotion. The power of music stirs the soul of the audience.
Isn't it amazing that out of the maze of instruments, there comes one voice, one harmony to delight the ear? What is the secret? The symphony, this "sound together," is only possible because the will of each player is completely bent to the will of the director. His whisper is an absolute command. Thus, out of many different voices comes one symphony, one harmony.
There is a spiritual parable in this for the believer. God has given different gifts to His people. Christians should be thankful for each gift, not envying others, nor despising them. Each has a needed note to sound in the symphony of God. "Now there are diversities of gifts, brit the same Spirit" I COR. 12:4. How utterly foolish Christians are to despise or neglect any of these gifts. Each has his part to play for the glory of God.
But how can there possibly be a symphony of spiritual blessing in the gatherings of the saints? May one suggest that, even as in the orchestra each player must be completely led by the conductor, even so each gift in the assembly must be under the control of God the Holy Spirit. There is only disharmony in the orchestra if each player is a law to himself. There must be the absolute control of the conductor.
One sees two extremes in Christendom today. In some places there is spiritual anarchy in the meetings. This is extreme Pentecostalism where each is a law unto himself, and confusion reigns. It is as if the orchestra has gone wild; each plays his own piece and disregards the conductor.
The other extreme is more common. Here man has organized the whole program. Each meeting is arranged and organized to such an extent that the Holy Spirit can only look on mournfully as man bungles around trying to lead God's symphony. It is all very orderly, dreadfully so, but the heart is gone out of the music. At times the directing hand of the Holy Spirit is seen in spite of man's efforts, but what glorious notes might be heard if only he were allowed complete control. This is the tragedy of so many churches today.
Being subject to the Holy Spirit is a vital mark of the New Testament church. If the Holy Spirit's leadership and direction are acknowledged, he will produce a symphony of love, of understanding and of united action. Mark the unity of those early days. "And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul" Acts 4:32. Are not many of our meetings dull and profitless, because man is trying to direct God's orchestra? Why not come together in dependence on the Holy Spirit to lead and acknowledge His authority? As He gives the cue for the different ones to take part, a delightful spiritual melody will thrill the soul.
It may be that at times he will fill the room with the rousing, strident tones of reproof and exhortation. Too seldom is that strain heard today. Again, the measured notes of teaching instruct the believer's minds. Often, too, He may play upon the strings of comfort and lift up the hearts of the discouraged. Blessed is the symphony led by the Lord the Spirit.
"How is it then, brethren? When ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things he done unto edifying" I Cor. 14:26.
Donald L. Norbie