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Playing Second Fiddle?

Playing Second Fiddle?

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Category: Special Features

Many people in our world are motivated by praise of others; that is not a bad thing if dealt with properly. After all, the scripture repeatedly reminds us to encourage and exhort one another. Some folks though live their lives in search of, perhaps in pursuit of praise from the lips or pens of men and women. I have known people who have such an ego that they cannot function if there is someone who does not appreciate them. It may be of interest to know that the word "Ego" originated from the Latin word for "I". This can be understood by listening to the conversation of a person with an "ego problem." You will find that the word "I" is used repeatedly as if they are the center of all there is.

Leonard Bernstein, the celebrated orchestra conductor, was asked, "What is the hardest instrument to play?" He replied without hesitation: "Second fiddle. I can always get plenty of first violinists, but to find one who plays second violin with as much enthusiasm or second French horn or second flute, now that's a problem. And yet if no one plays second, we have no harmony."

How are you at "playing second fiddle"? You see, God's church only functions properly if people work "in the background" or "behind the scenes" playing "second fiddle" without recognition. I thank God for all of the men and women within His church who are not grasping for recognition, who are willing to work quietly in the background. They are happy to serve God for his recognition, not for the recognition of others.

The apostle Paul gives us this instruction from God:

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. ... Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves (Romans 12:3-10).

In other words, we are all equal in God's eyes and we should be happy just knowing that.

Pride is a terrible thing and has proven to be the downfall of many people. The common saying we here is "Pride goes before a fall." This is actually a bible principle. God warns us through the wise writer of Proverbs: "Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall" (Proverbs 16:18). Pride causes some to view others as less worth, less valuable to God and our world, than they themselves are. Pride causes some to abuse or misuse someone they should cherish as God's creation. Pride causes some to be lost because they won't submit themselves to God. Perhaps some just cannot make themselves serve God without the praise of men.

Only One is truly worthy of our praise, and it surely isn't us!

You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being (Revelation 4:11).

You see, playing second fiddle is not a bad thing. It doesn't become a problem unless we do think of ourselves as being "just a little better" than someone else. We will understand that point if we keep our egos — our desire to see "I" as being of first importance — under control. James said it this way:

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you (James 4:7).

God and His church need you to be the support and encouragement to others, not the one that gets his or her feelings hurt because you were not recognized (i.e. "They didn't speak to me today"). Are you willing to play second fiddle if that's what it takes to be a blessing to God and His church? It may just take that for your church to have and to produce the harmony God desires.

About the Author

Russ Lawson
Russ Lawson is a former missionary to Africa and minister in Ohio. He now works with World Christian Literature Outreach and writes a weekly email devotional, Messages from the Heart. For more information about Russ, click here.

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