The piano tuner

Faith & Inspiration

We said goodbye to summer at the usual gathering in the Pocono Mountains, and as usual the Sunday worship service was the highlight. Most of the regulars were there, the friends we see only twice a year at this very place, on Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends.

The man who preached is a piano tuner. I realize this is a little unusual, but Bob's story is a little unusual.

Bob was a tuner with a perfect-pitch ear who believed he heard a call to full-time Christian ministry, and so he pulled up stakes and went to seminary and planted churches for 14 years with his family. Toward the end of this time Bob sensed the Lord calling him out of the ministry and back to the work of making pianos sing like angels, and he agonized over this with his wife, Grace.

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Part of that agony was the question of whether tuning pianos was a worthwhile calling in a world that so needs Christ. As Bob pondered these things on a beach one day, he picked up his book Your Work Matters to God, and the line he read began something like this: "Suppose you are a piano tuner. …"

Bob also shared about the time he worked in a Steinway factory, which would shut down for an hour once a year. Everything would come to a halt and every hum and clang went silent for those 60 minutes throughout the whole operation: the craftsmen in walnut, pear, and spruce; the finishing room workers; the soundboard installers; the keyboard makers; the workers of the rim press; the bridge press operators; the sanders; the painters and polishers; the final tuners.

A concert pianist would appear on the scene during this rare and special hour. He would take his seat before the beautiful instrument that the Steinway family had made. As he played, the music would waft through the rooms of every part of the factory. Men and women whose sweat had gone into the finished product would remember why it is they do what they do, and why their work has meaning.

On this note, I will add only that Bob presently tunes pianos to the glory of God. And he also plays a mean guitar.

Andrée Seu Peterson
Andrée Seu Peterson

Andrée is the author of three books: Won't Let You Go Unless You Bless Me, Normal Kingdom Business, and We Shall Have Spring Again.


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