"One Sunday morning, when the soloist began singing the anthem 'All Rise,' the message of the words and the majesty of the melody so overwhelmed me that, almost against my will, I just stood up as though yanked to my feet," Jan Winebrenner tells in her book Intimate Faith.
She was only vaguely aware when her husband stood up beside her. At the end of the song, the entire congregation was standing in awe of the grandeur of God.
A week later Jan was having lunch with a friend from church. "Someone stood up during the choir anthem," she told Jan mentioning the recent Sunday service. "Then, one by one, everybody in the congregation started standing up. It was the most moving thing that's happened in that church in a long time.
"Someone said that a woman in the back stood up all alone--no one knew who it was, but by the time the song ended the entire congregation was standing.
"Were you there?" she asked.
"Oh, yes, I was there," Jan admitted and then added, "I was the lady in the back."
"Immediately something broke inside me" Jan said. "Like the shattering of a Waterford trophy, the breaking was irreparable, the prize irreplaceable. How badly I wanted to take back the words, but the secret was out. Over the next few moments of conversation, I received the praise of a lovely woman who thought it was 'really great' that I had had the courage to stand up when everyone else was sitting down--we're not that kind of church. But her praise was like a painful cacophony compared to the beauty of God's voice when I had contented myself with his approval. There is no way to describe what I lost that day."
Lord, help me always seek obedience rather than applause.
"Your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you" (Matthew 6:4)