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by Brent Nidiffer and Jamie Shell
At age five, he wrote an advanced concerto for the harpsichord. Before he was ten, he had published several violin sonatas and was playing the best of Handel and Bach from memory. Soon after his twelfth birthday, he composed and conducted his first opera. He was awarded an honorary appointment as concert-master with the Salzburg Symphony Orchestra and within a few years, was hailed as the pride of Salzburg. When he died at the age of thirty-five, he had written forty-eight symphonies, forty-seven arias, duets, and quarters with orchestral accompaniment, and more than a dozen operas. He is credited with some 600 original compositions in all!
Even so, Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Amadeus Theophilus Mozart lived most of his life in poverty and died in obscurity. His sick widow seemed indifferent about his death. A few friends made it to the church for his funeral, but a storm prohibited their going to the graveside for his burial. The location of his grave thus became virtually impossible to identify. No shrine marks his resting place. Why? Partially because of his excesses that robbed him of relationships and depleted his physical energies, partially because he was ahead of his time with his music.
In Matthew 25:21, Jesus describes the reaction of the Father if we wisely use the gifts, abilities, and resources he entrusted to us: "Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things." God is praising a life of character that utilized the opportunities, gifts, and resources that were shared with them. This persons understanding of God and his generosity, this persons willingness to take risks to honor God and his trust, and this persons faithfulness in handling what was shared earned the Fathers approval: Well done!
The legacy of Mozart is the enduring gift of music he shared and the tragedy of a great talent whose life and personal influence were cut short by his own failures. What we share with others of our talent, creativity, resources, energy, insight, love... is only part of the legacy we leave behind. The other part will be found in the people we impact, and those we impact through our influence upon them. Lets couple the use of our gifts and our character together. Lets live today, using what God has given to us and entrusted in us, so that our legacy is, Well done!
Author: Brent Nidiffer and Jamie Shell
Publication Date: June 8, 2001
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