14th December 2010

Second Fiddle!

“Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honouring each other.”
Romans 12:10 (NLT 1996 version)

Conductor and composer Leonard Bernstein was once asked the question; “Mister Bernstein, which is the most difficult instrument?” He replied, “The Second Violin. I can get many First Violinists, but to find one who with the same enthusiasm plays Second Violin or Second French Horn or Second Flute, is a real problem. Yet, if nobody would play Second Violin, we would not have harmony?”

It is not always easy to be second, especially if one deserves to be first. It is even more difficult to step down after having been first; and it’s more difficult still to be ridiculed and humiliated after having stepped down from being first. This, however, is exactly what Jesus did, and I guess the lesson for us is to take a long hard look at what his condescension means for us. Paul writes to the little church at Philippi with these instructions: “Your attitude should be the same that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not demand and cling to his rights as God. He made himself nothing; He took the humble position as a slave and appeared in human form.” (Philippians 2:5-7).

This is what happened in Bethlehem of Judea, when angels sang for joy and Mary and Joseph delighted in the son they were waiting for. As Charles Wesley once said referring to baby Jesus in the manger,
            “Our God contracted to a span;
            Incomprehensibly made man.”

He humbled himself for us, for all humanity. He didn’t cling to his glory and majesty as God but became one of us; flesh and blood, bone, muscle and sinew. He told his disciples that he came to serve. Notice the section of scripture in Mark 10:42-45:  Jesus said; “You know that in this world kings are tyrants, and officials lord it over the people beneath them. But among you it should be quite different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be the slave of all. For even I the Son of Man came here not to be served but to serve others, and to give my life a ransom for many.” How is that for a wonderful, Godly attitude?

The Message Bible translates Romans 12:10 this way: “Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle!”

Lord, let your servant’s mind fill us each waking day. Each breathing moment empower us to be like you; submitting to and loving others with great and overwhelming joy.

Study by Cliff Neill 

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