Last night I had the privilege of seeing Handel's Messiah performed here in Pittsburgh at Heinz Hall, due to the generosity of a woman in my church. I have seen the Messiah many times but it never gets old. Last night was another outstanding rendition of that timeless classic. Let's take a look at the circumstances that surrounded Handel as he composed his work and see if there are any purpose lessons there for you (you know there are!)
The Messiah is considered by many to be the greatest musical feat in the history of mankind. Commissioned by a charity to produce a benefit concert, Handel wrote the Messiah in only 24 days. A musician once told me that someone trying to copy the Messiah could not do so in 24 days—that is the level of inspiration in which Handel operated when he wrote. Handel never left his house for those three weeks. His food trays remained untouched outside his office door. A friend who visited him as he composed found him sobbing with intense emotions. Later, as Handel groped for words to describe what he had experienced, he quoted St. Paul, saying “whether I was in the body or out of my body when I wrote it I know not.”
What’s even more impressive is that Handel wrote Messiah under extreme duress. The Church of England strongly criticized and opposed Handel and his previous Scriptural works put to music. At the age of 56, he had no money, often going out only at night so as to avoid his creditors. Handel performed what he considered his farewell concert and went home, fully expecting to end up in debtor’s prison.
Yet the first performance of Messiah in Ireland raised almost 400 pounds for charity and freed 142 other men from debtor's prison in 1742. Of course the rest is history as countless millions have enjoyed and marveled at this work for more than 250 years. Handel also went on from there to enjoy tremendous success and popularity in his latter years.
So what does this have to do with you? Perhaps you are a person of purpose but you feel frustrated, even defeated in your PurposeQuest. Maybe you find yourself down and out, discouraged and criticized, forgotten and a failure. Perhaps your finances are in poor shape. If that description fits you, read on, for I believe this Memo can restore your hope and faith. If that’s not you, read on anyway, for you will probably enter that phase one day as you pursue your purpose.
WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU ARE DOWN AND OUT.
What should you do if you are in a season of “un-use,” disfavor or inaction? As we close out 2009, I would urge you to do three things if you are discouraged, disillusioned or dismayed. And if you’re not, I urge you to find someone who is—you shouldn’t have to look too hard—and encourage them in their dark time.
- Renew your faith in God. Your success and purpose expression doesn’t depend on your faithfulness; it depends on God’s. So remind yourself that God can do anything, and then rest in Him. Handel went home to retire and perhaps thought it was all over for him. Yet God helped him and He will help you.
- Keep preparing for your day of success. I don’t think Handel went home and abandoned music. Don't you abandon your love either. Keep writing, reading, learning and practicing. When the phone rings or the mail comes with your opportunity, you will be fresh and prepared, having worked in faith for the day of success.
generous. Handel wrote the Messiah for charity, even though he was destitute. What can you do for someone else, even though
you are down and out? It is a good thing to do the unexpected in hard times and giving something away definitely fits the bill. What better way to express your trust in God?
I’m grateful for 2009 and I hope you can find reasons to be as well. If not, then just thank God for His faithfulness. At least you’re still alive! Then take this Memo to heart or share it with someone who needs it. I pray that as you do what I recommended above, you will see the purpose breakthrough in 2010. Thank you for allowing me to come into your life every week and thank you for being a purpose seeker. As I close this Memo, I wish you not only a great week, but also a very Merry Christmas!
LETTERS FROM KENYA: Please, please take the time to read my latest update on the Sophia Fund and the Deborah Foundation here, this time written by three Kenyans. You will see how critical this work is from those who are touched firsthand. Then give as you can this holiday season. Your giving will make a big difference in the lives of many children and adults.
Not a lot of money arrived this past week, but a lot of stuff did. I have no idea how I will get all this over to Kenya, but I am not worried. I have people going with me in February and we will take as much as we can. I truly believe that God will work all this out, so I refuse to fret for even one minute.
After you read these updates, I hope you too will act to help today as we approach the Christmas holiday. I need money and supplies to feed and educate them in a difficult environment. I am grateful for your prayerful and prompt response to the children's needs. If you need more background or information, go to my blog to see my latest posts or go to my Facebook page. I will figure out a way to get everything to Kenya. You just figure out a way to get them to me.