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CURRENT ISSUE: april-may 2009


EveryOne:Reaching Farther Together







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Keith Burden

one to one

Music in the Ears of God



One to One is a regular feature of ONE Magazine. Written by Keith Burden, executive secretary of the National Association of Free Will Baptists, the column explores life, ministry...and grandkids!


My wife and I celebrated Valentines Day by going out to dinner and attending a performance by the Nashville Symphony. The concert featured an internationally known violinist who played and also served as guest conductor.

We arrived at the concert hall early. The indescribably beautiful, state-of-the-art facility is known for its wonderful acoustics. There is not a bad seat in the house. People from every walk of life attended the sold-out performance.

As I perused the program, I found information about the visiting artist and details about events and activities for the up-coming season. However, one section in particular caught my attention—a list of financial supporters.

These individuals or families were listed in categories based on their level of giving. The top tier was comprised of those contributing $1 million annually. Next were $500,000 donors, followed by $100,000 patrons. The program listed several pages of names. Obviously, it takes a lot of money to fund such a world-class operation.




In advance of the performance, orchestra members made their way to the stage and found their seats in their assigned section. Some tuned their instruments; others played selected portions from pieces to be performed that evening. All in all, it created a noisy, dissonant, unorganized mess…a cacophony.

Finally, the lights dimmed and applause erupted as the maestro made his entrance. Members of the orchestra and the audience stood to their feet in respect for this gifted musician. After taking several bows, he assumed his position, and the concert began.

One after another the orchestra performed classical pieces written by world-renowned composers. Even a person with limited knowledge and appreciation for these works of art could not help but notice their degree of difficulty. The talent and skill of those professional musicians was astounding. The music was beautiful and mesmerizing.

During the course of the performance it occurred to me that this concert was a graphic illustration of the church as it fulfills the Great Commission. God, in His wisdom, brings together individuals from different backgrounds with varying gifts and abilities. Each one plays a distinct, yet vital role in the task of world evangelism.

Some have the capacity to contribute financially in an extraordinary way. Others give on a smaller scale. But, everyone must do his part.


There are no insignificant donors when it comes to
funding the work of the kingdom!


Like those musicians, individual Christians must commit to excellence and possess a cooperative spirit. Carrying the gospel to the ends of the earth is not a solo performance. It is a group effort. Separately, their contributions may be small and insignificant…even discordant at times. But collectively, God blends our efforts into beautiful harmony.

In a symphony, success is achieved when the eyes of every member focuses on the conductor, responding at the precise moment in the appropriate manner. God is our conductor. As He raises the baton, where is your focus? Are you following His lead? Do you know your role in the Great Commission? Are you willing to do your part?

As a denomination, we must work together to reach the lost. Nothing pleases God more or produces greater harmony. The concert is already under way. Join us as we make music—music in the ears of God. “Stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.” (Phil. 1:27)


Keith Burden is the executive secretary of the National Association of Free Will Baptists. Email Keith at To learn more about the National Association of Free Will Baptists, visit



©2009 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists