Darrow Miller and Friends

The Little Drummer Boy

The other day as I was driving to work, “The Little Drummer Boy” came on the radio. I’m sure we all hear this song at least once every year around Christmastime, but its full meaning is something that I hadn’t really recognized until I heard it this year. Let’s look at the lyrics, “Pa rum pum pum pum’s” removed for easier reading:

Come, they told me
A newborn King to see
Our finest gifts we bring
To lay before the King

So to honor Him
When we come

Little baby
I am a poor boy, too
I have no gift to bring
That’s fit to give our King

Shall I play for you
On my drum

Mary nodded
The ox and lamb kept time
I played my drum for him
I played my best for him

Then he smiled at me
Me and my drum

This little boy was invited to go before the newborn King of Kings, Lord of Lords. He knew that this baby was important, and felt that he had no gift that was fit to offer him. While we’re not sure if a little drummer boy ever really visited Jesus, it’s a good reflection on what many of us feel as we seek to serve the Lord in our daily lives.

We all know what happens here–the little boy plays his drum for Jesus. He played his best for Jesus. Then what happens? Jesus smiled at the boy playing his drum. I imagine, like the widow in Mark 12 who offered her last coins for the offering at the Temple, that this gift was all the more precious to Jesus as it was all the boy had to give.

Now what does this mean for us, both during the Christmas season and year round? The answer is clear: we are to use the gifts that God has given us to serve him and others in whatever ways we can. Do you have a gift for working with children? Serve in the nursery during the Christmas Eve service at your church. Do you have a heart for the homeless? Seek out where you might serve in one of your city’s shelters or soup kitchens. Do you have an elderly neighbor who needs help around the house or yard? Go over on a Saturday morning and do what needs to be done. Every day when you go to work, recognize that God has given you that job for a reason. Within your families, seek to be the husband, wife, son, daughter, mother, father, etc. that God has created you to be.

You don’t need to be a pastor or a missionary to fulfill the greater plan that God has in store for each one of his children. “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” (Colossians 3:23-24, emphasis added).

This Christmas and all throughout the year, remember the little drummer boy and how he brought the only gift he had–his talent for music–before Jesus. What song will you play for the King?

-Stephanie Shumate

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