YOU ONLY SAW HER HANDS and not her face on TV

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. (Col 3:23-24 NIV)

“I’m a good ole boy and my Momma loves me, but she can’t understand why they keep showin’ my hands and not my face on TV.”

Waylon Jennings was so well known on the Country Music scene that by the time he played that song for the redneck sitcom The Dukes of Hazard in 1979 everyone who heard it knew who was singing it. Waylon’s face never appeared, only his jeans, cowboy shirt and leather vest framing his fingers picking his signature white and black electric guitar. It was an inside joke. But we understood. Waylon was already famous in the South as an “outlaw” country singer. We didn’t need to see his face. We could recognize that guitar and that coal mine deep baritone anywhere.

At about the same time that Waylon and the Duke Brothers were hitting their stride the hands of another musician of a totally different stripe began appearing regularly on television. In Touch, the ministry of televangelist Charles Stanley was airing nationwide in the early eighties. In those days part of the signature opening sequence for the program was a shot of a pair of skilled hands caressing the ivory keys of a black grand piano. The viewer never saw the musician’s face and very few people ever knew her name but those of us who were members of First Baptist Church of Atlanta back then didn’t need to. We recognized the hands and knew the signature sound of one of the most dedicated servants to ever play a hymn. We used to sing her that verse of Waylon’s song just to kid her. Her name is Alice Marie “Bee” Wolter. For twenty-two years she pounded the keys for countless rehearsals, worship services, weddings, funerals, church theatrical productions and traveling choirs as part of the ministry of First Baptist Church of Atlanta. But that doesn’t even make up half of her time in service to the King at the keyboard. Bee began playing for the church when she was ten years old. As of last Sunday, when she played for worship at First Baptist Church of Kennesaw, Georgia, she has been at her post in some church or ministry, almost every Sunday and many nights in between, for over seventy-five years. She has “worked at it with all her heart, as for the Lord, not for men…serving Christ” and the rest of us who love to sing his praises.

So if you ever get discouraged or tired in your service to the Kingdom, and wonder if anyone will ever appreciate it take a little lesson from my mother-in-law Bee. Very few people on earth will ever know her name. And no one is likely to see her face on TV. But her inheritance is waiting in the presence of the King.

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