When ‘Florence Foster Jenkins’ Sang At My Church

florence-foster-jenkins

TheDiscipleMD

Florence Foster Jenkins was described by one musical historian as ‘the world’s worst opera singer.’ In response to critics, Mrs. Jenkins was quoted as saying:

“Some may say that I couldn’t sing, but no one can say that I didn’t sing.”

In the 1990’s I attended a baptism held at my church. Prior to the ordinance an older man was introduced to us as a soloist who would sing a hymn. I happened to have three of my young sons with me in that service. As we sat in the pews the older gentleman made his way up and stood before us. The piano player gave the introduction on the keys and the man began a heartfelt rendition of a traditional hymn. It didn’t take long for me, or anyone else, to discover that the soloist had a hard time hitting the proper notes. I had never been exposed to such a thing. My young sons began to laugh and I steadied them with a steer look and a finger over my lips. They tried to behave and did fairly well. I on the other hand found myself struggling to hold in my laughter as the soloist was clearly untrained, untalented, but also un-nerved!

As the musical number continued onward I began to gain a new view of the performance. The gentlemen continued singing with great passion and with power in his voice! He showed no shame or timidity but raised his voice high in praising his Savior, and his Heavenly Father!

Something changed! It was me! In the middle of that number I saw his courage in proclaiming his faith in song, as a wonder! I began to admire him and I felt touched by his sincerity and the obvious lack of care he had for what others might think. As he concluded his unusual rendition, I fought back a lump that had been developing in my throat. To this day, that musical number has stayed with me and has blessed my life. This soloist taught me that the beauty of a gift is defined by the heart of the giver.

Talent as defined by man is not the same talent as defined by God. Mrs. Jenkins got it right all those many years ago. I believe that ‘talent’ as defined by the Lord, is not so much about if we can, but more about if we do!

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