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by Keith Burden, executive secretary, National Association of Free Will Baptists. Email Keith at

I TRIED NOT TO STARE AT HER, BUT I COULDN'T HELP IT. Her long, dark hair and striking features made her uncommonly attractive—especially for a sixth grader. Her beauty, however, was not the focus of my attention. Two fingers were conspicuously missing on one hand; the result of a birth defect.

That Sunday afternoon she sat with her parents near the front of the sanctuary. They were guests in a special youth service our church was hosting. I sat on the front pew with a half dozen other teenage boys. I became absorbed in the service and forgot about the girl I had noticed earlier.

Following a couple of hymns my pastor welcomed those in attendance and summoned the ushers. One of them led in prayer. We were all unprepared for what happened next.

Unannounced, the physically challenged young lady walked to the piano. Seated on the edge of the bench, her feet barely touched the pedals. Deliberately she placed both hands on the keyboard and began to play the offertory—a simple rendition of Amazing Grace.

No one seemed to notice the absence of certain notes in some of the chords. The congregation sat mesmerized as they listened intently to the familiar old song. When she finished, the brave, little musician slipped quietly back to her seat between her parents. You could have heard a pin drop. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

I’ve never witnessed a more powerful illustration of Christian stewardship in my life. That young lady could have made all kinds of excuses for not playing the piano.  She could have pointed to her physical limitations—but she didn’t. She could have been intimidated by the ability of more gifted musicians—but she wasn’t. Instead, she did what she could.

It brought to mind what Jesus said about the woman who anointed Him in Mark 14:8—“She hath done what she could.” Rather than focusing on what she couldn’t do, she determined to do what she could.

The essence of Christian stewardship is using the resources God has entrusted to us in Kingdom service. Naturally, this involves our wealth. But biblical stewardship goes far beyond simply paying our tithes. It involves our time and talents too.

When it comes to stewardship God is far more interested in our attitude than our aptitude. He doesn’t need much to work with. All He requires is a willing heart and hands—even if they aren’t perfect. Are you doing what you can?



©2005 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists