Out on the Edge
“And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.”
Hebrews 13:16 (NIV UK)
The other day I saw an interview with the lead guitarist for U2—the Edge. He was at his studio doing some guitar tests. While he was tuning up, he talked about the difference between a ‘showboating’ guitarist who tries to steal the spotlight from everyone else and a guy who’s just trying to be part of the team. He said he likes to approach his role in the band by taking the latter approach, trying to find places where he can serve best. That got me thinking…
As a culture we can sometimes reward dynamic leaders who enjoy being the centre of attention. I know from experience that these types of ‘lead guitarists’ can be difficult to share the stage with. They have a tendency to hold the spotlight squarely on themselves. But that’s not how it’s supposed to be. As Christians, we’re called to have a servant’s heart. See how Paul put it when writing to the church in Philippi: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mind-set as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness” (Philippians 2:3–7).
Throughout his earthly ministry, Jesus would embody Paul’s advice, serving his disciples. On more than one occasion, Christ made an extra effort to direct the attention away from himself and instead placed it on his heavenly Father or the Holy Spirit. In preaching he told his audience that he was seeking to bring worshippers to the Father and that his Father loves and desired a relationship with them. Even in teaching his disciples to pray, he turned the spotlight on our heavenly Father, revealing to them that the very source and substance of his life was to complete his Father’s will and not his own. He was certain of his role and identity as Son of God, and that’s why he could serve those around him with joy.
If we can follow his cue and seek to receive from the Father through him, and then turn to serve one another with humility and love, we’ll really begin making some great music together!
Gracious Father, help us, please, to follow the example set for us by your Son, in that he did everything for our welfare at the expense of his own. We pray this in Jesus’ name.
Study by Joseph Tkach
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