Luke 1

Jim Lowe encourages us to be the person who is prepared to step back and not seek the limelight but instead see others flourish.

Jim Lowe
Jim Lowe

The other day I was listening to the radio and Todrick Hall, dancer and choreographer, was being interviewed. I found his interview fascinating; he talked about the desire in each of us to perform and make people happy. Todrick quoted Lady Gaga Lyrics,
'I live for the applause, applause, applause
I live for the applause, live for the applause
Live for the way that you cheer and scream for me
The applause, applause, applause.'

Todrick got me thinking. Am I living for the applause? If so, who am I seeking the applause from?

My spouse? My family? My friends? My boss? My church leader? God?

Soon after I heard Todrick speak, I was reading Luke 1. Often this is a passage that we just pull out at Christmas time. But I was struck by Zachariah and Mary.

Both of them had visions and had encounters with angels. Both of them were going to have a special son. Both of them would be remembered by the rest of humanity and have their names written in the number best-selling book in history.

But both of them wouldn't be living in the applause. They would both be making sacrifices to see John the Baptist and Jesus grow up to reshape human history.

As Jesus was growing up, people wouldn't have been cheering on Mary. But both Mary and Zachariah were happy to play the supporting role in God's plan. In fact, they both wrote worship songs about how God was doing through them and their sons, even though they weren't living in the applause of people.

They were happy to serve God's bigger plan and play their role out of the limelight. If Zachariah and Mary weren't happy to play the supporting roles, things could have worked out very differently. They would have missed out on playing their role in the greatest moments in human history.

I don't think it's wrong to want to make people happy and to receive applause. But it's when our desire to receive applause means we miss out of the what God has for us that it causes a problem. Often, we need to be content to play a supporting role and forfeit the immediate praise for something bigger.

For Lady Gaga and Todrick, to live in the applause, they need support dancers, the choreographers, the lighting technicians, the ticket booth attendants, the stage hands, musicians plus many other people. It's a team effort.

At work, sometimes we need to be content in allowing someone else to get the applause and supporting them, even though we would like the applause for ourselves.

At school and college we may need to put aside trying to be popular and living for the applause; instead we could build something for the future whether it's the grades we need to reach our next destination or just being a nice person to someone who needs encouragement that could shape their future.

At church, instead of always wanting to be the person who is noticed by others, why not try and be the person who is prepared to step back and not seek the limelight but instead see others flourish.

When we try and live for the applause, we are shaped by the people we are trying to impress.

But when we live for something greater, when we start living for God's long term plan, we no longer get shaped by the applause instead we get shaped the greater cause. CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.