Day 17 of 40 Days to Celebrate the King: I Am Second
Reading today: Psalm 138, Matthew 3:1-12
I played the trumpet in Jr Hi and High School. I was pretty good. First chair at Myrtle Beach High School. Played in church and at state youth events. In fact, my band director at MBHS put together a little jazz quartet with him on saxophone, me on the trumpet, a really cool kid named Sammy Lassiter on drums, and some old, chain-smoking guy that played the upright bass. Mr. Brady, the band director, booked us a weekend gig at the Landmark Hotel and every weekend we would entertain the tourists that came to eat supper there. We worked for tips. It was wonderful training for my years taking up an offering as a pastor.
I also played the piano a little bit. I could hold my own on a drum kit. And I knew enough chords on a guitar to get me through Kum Ba Yah at the youth camp fireside worship services. But do you know the hardest instrument I ever tried to play? The one that still to this day gives me fits? And, I’m not alone. Most people I know have struggled with this instrument. Second fiddle. Man, that is a killer. Some of the most accomplished violinists I know have a hard time playing second fiddle. I’ve known pastors, song leaders, church musicians, and board members, even lowly 3rd grade boys Sunday School teachers who failed miserably when asked to play second fiddle.
John the Baptist was about as good at it as anyone I have ever heard of. He was not only willing, but he seemed to revel in his place as the precursor to the Messiah, the opening act for the Main Event, the one who came to “prepare the way” for the Coming Christ. John was so good at second fiddle that when he was in his heyday and the crowds on the river banks were overflowing, he quickly said, “Hey, this is nothing. Someone is coming after me who is so much greater than I am that I’m not worthy to lace up His Michael Jordan’s.” In another place when some of his church people were leaving to go hear the hot-shot Son of God, John said, “He must increase and I must decrease.” (John 3:30) Now, that’s a great second fiddle player right there.
Me? Not so much. I want to look at the size of the crowd when I speak. I want to count followers on Instagram or likes on FaceBook. I want to see my name in lights and hear the accolades of the people. And whenever I slip into that I ALWAYS get in the way of the thing that God really wants to happen. “I baptize with water but He will baptize you the Holy Ghost and with fire.”
Wow! There it is. Why do I not see the power of God in my life like I want to? Why do we not see revivals in our churches, miracles happening around us, lives being changed, and sick people being healed? Not enough second fiddles. Too many of us make it about us. Oh, that today I could not only turn my eyes toward Jesus but make sure everything I did pointed other people that way. God, forgive me. Help me to play second fiddle so that YOU might be lifted up and YOUR Holy Spirit might be seen and YOUR fire fall. Help me to get me out of the way and celebrate You. But, while You’re at it, help me to be as cool as Sammy Lassiter.
PS This picture is of my beautiful young friend Sophie Buck, She is awesome on both 1st and 2nd fiddle. Doris and I are blessed by her every Sunday.