One of the most enjoyable and inspiring movies I have ever seen is Mr. Holland’s Opus. It came out in 1995.
Mr. Holland, played by Richard Dreyfuss, aspired to be a great music composer in his life. But because of various circumstances, he ended up teaching music to high school students. It was a job he really didn’t like at first. He, however, gradually grew to like teaching and appreciate his students.
But he never lost the dream or the itch to create a great music composition. He was a very gifted musician and music composer. Through much of the movie, which spans his entire 30-year teaching career, he is working on this masterpiece. I think his dream was to have it played by some of the great orchestras of the world.
By the end of his working life, he was not able to see this dream fulfilled. But he accomplished something even more significant.
At his surprise retirement party, we see all the students that he had impacted over the years. The students came to honor their beloved music teacher…………….Students that had come to love music who at first hadn’t cared much for it; students who learned to play musical instruments well who couldn’t play very well at the beginning; students who had developed courage and fortitude through the influence of Mr. Holland in their lives.
At his retirement party, we see many of his music students playing the musical composition that he had worked on throughout his life. Mr. Holland is just floored by the impact he’s had in his students’ lives. His “Great Opus” or “Great Work” was the way he helped mold the lives of these young people for good.
As I was watching the conclusion of this movie, it really struck me that this is how God often works in our lives and through our lives. Many times, God’s working is imperceptible and not readily apparent at the given moment. But over time, the result or fruit of God’s working is significant.
Mr. Holland’s Opus was not an explicitly Christian movie. But nonetheless, it expressed some powerful Christian themes. Mr. Holland chose to be faithful to his students, to his wife and to his deaf son. As a result, his professional musical career aspirations were powerfully redeemed and brought tremendous blessings to others.
His life ended up being a weighty life……..a life of substance…….a life that in the end greatly outweighed the glitz and glamour of Hollywood and Broadway.
Eugene Peterson in his book “A Long Obedience in the Same Direction” quotes Friedrich Nietzsche: “The essential thing ‘in heaven and earth’ is that there should be long obedience in the same direction; there thereby results, and has always resulted in the long run, something which has made life worth living.”
There has always been a cost involved in being faithful to the LORD. But in the long run, the cost of not being faithful has always been greater. We lose out on so much. Let me leave you with these words of encouragement from 2Corinthians 4:16-18:
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are
wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an
eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not
on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is
temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
Let us continue to trust the LORD to work His Great Opus in us and through us. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
In Christ’s love and service, Pastor John