Playin’ the Background

So the last shall be first, and the first last.  Matthew 20:16a

LYRICS:  Why gain the whole wide world, If I’m just going to lose my soul…….

This song, though it’s stylistically counter culture to the way I was raised, reminds me of my father.  How does one “play the background” their whole life and stay faithful to it?  How does one desire more, yet manage to stay right in the center of God’s will, even though it’s a smaller destiny than they ever imagined would be their own?

How does one tirelessly pastor a small local church where the only tangible reward is being asked to preach the funeral of members whose homes you’ve visited more times than you can count, just to make sure they’re doing ok?

I’ve seen my dad usher many families into the throne room of grace as they cry for their family member who just took the last lingering breath.  I’ve listened to disgruntled members stand up during church to publicly decimate my father’s name.

Sermon after sermon he’s preached the same message of God’s saving grace, Sunday after Sunday for a lifetime.  And he’s never given in to the pressure of society, the temptation to give the message a nuance that will gain more favor with the community.

He’s stayed the course even when others have fallen by the wayside.  He’s lived with the fear of falling by the wayside all the while stumbling along, sometimes almost unable to discern God’s calling in it all.

I know he has doubts, and that sometimes he probably feels like he’s on the outside looking in on what’s going on with the “church” and the world, but I pray he’ll have the faith and stamina to keep “playing the background.”

We’re all so consumed with how to earn the spotlight.  But who’s gonna “play the background?”  I pray that I’ll have the faith to do what God wants, even when it seems like even God isn’t taking notice.

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