The name Stradivarius is synonymous with fine violins. This is true because Antonius Stradivarius insisted that no instrument constructed in his shop be sold until it was as near perfection as human care and skill could make it. Stradivarius observed, “God needs violins to send His music into the world, and if any violins are defective God’s music will be spoiled.” His work philosophy was summed up in one sentence: “Other men will make other violins, but no man shall make a better one.”
The life and work of Antonius Stradivarius teaches us two things: there is value in greatness and there is greatness in value. His violins bring the highest prices at auction because he had such high standards and invested such pains into their construction. Quality demanded their value. Furthermore, the Stradivarius name has not been forgotten because of the priceless nature of his work. Stradivarius is the hallmark of comparison for anything of quality. The name lives on.
Paul challenged Timothy not to fall prey to the false notion that wealth is the measure of greatness. There were prosperity preachers then as there are now. Paul described them this way: “These people always cause trouble. Their minds are corrupt, and they turn their backs on the truth. To them, a show of godliness is just a way to become wealthy.” (1 Timothy 6:5)
Paul told Timothy that true godliness — quality if you will, is the key to real and lasting wealth. This is not the temporary wealth of the world but is the eternal treasure in Heaven that Jesus spoke of in Matthew 6. Godliness is of great value because it enriches your soul, develops your character and points others to Christ.
Godliness gives direction and purpose to our otherwise meaningless and empty lives. It is our course for going, our source for growing and our force for showing the world that Jesus is real.
From our perspective, godliness is a choice. It becomes real in your life and mine through a surrendered heart. As we yield our lives to the Father, he shapes us and makes us into the image of His Son.
From God’s perspective, godliness is a divine work that He is committed to (Philippians 1:6). It is this “quality work” that God is doing in our lives that renders us of great value.
We must CHOOSE and we must COOPERATE with God in the working of godliness in our lives. The world desperately needs to see Him! Let us show them Him!