Proverbs 4:18 – But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.
Vladimir Horowitz was considered by many to be the greatest concert pianist of all time. Arranging his own variations of piano concertos as well as symphonies for piano, for many decades he performed over one hundred concerts a year. Some of his arrangements were so complex that they are played by more than one pianist simultaneously today. Clearly he was amazing, but he did not get there by accident.
A consummate professional, when Horowitz sat down to perform, it was only after countless hours of practice. He once said that he practiced at least four hours a day. He has been quoted as saying, “If I don’t practice for a day, I know it. If I don’t practice for two days, my wife knows it. If I don’t practice for three days, the world knows it.” While certainly he was a gifted musician, this level of dedication to his art made him extraordinary. As a result, he is recognized as one of the best performers in modern history.
Vladimir Horowitz was merely one example of the kind of person who doesn’t just “go to work.” This kind of person toils not just because the work pays the bills. It is their passion. They are called to it, and they give themselves to their calling body and soul. While they know that they may not reach absolute perfection, they know that the closer they get to it, the more beautiful and glorious will be their art.
So too Christians are gifted with the Holy Spirit not merely to sit back and enjoy the ride or toil through life like a victim. We are God’s workmanship (Ephesians 2:10), and we are called to be conformed to the image of none other than Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29). Our Christian example should improve, shining brighter and brighter unto the perfect day. We do it not because we will be absolutely perfect like Jesus this side of Eternal Heaven, but rather because the closer we get to perfection the happier we will be filled with His righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. What a wonderful goal?! Isn’t it worth the hours of practice? I think so.
If you are not sure, let’s see if Horowitz can convince you. Click here to listen to a recording of Horowitz performing Chopin’s Fantasie Impromptu at around the age of 75. It pays to practice perfection even if you can’t get there.