At choir rehearsal, the worship pastor announces that the Worship and Creative Arts Department is going to put on the Broadway-style musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. It’s based on the story of Joseph from Genesis 37-47, and the whole choir is invited to participate in the cast.
For the next few months, we learn the songs and choreography, we wrestle with colorful costumes, and we slather on enough stage makeup to scare any poor toddler we happen upon.
On opening night, I double-check that I have everything I need for each scene.
Costumes, shoes, props. Everything is in place, except the pom-poms, because at one point in the show, I don’t have enough time to run backstage to grab the pom-poms for the next scene. So the props manager, Allison, stands just behind the curtain, holding my pom-poms for me. All I have to do is step behind the curtain, take the pom-poms from Allison, and a second later I’m back on stage, just in time.
As the narrator sings Red! I’m supposed to hold up the red pom-pom, and when she sings Yellow! I lift up the yellow pom-pom. It’s all perfectly choreographed with the lyrics about Joseph’s coat.
In the final scene of the show, Jacob and Joseph are reunited, and the whole cast takes a grand bow. While I’m bowing, I see Allison behind the stage curtain. She’s beaming with joy because everything went off without a hitch. I know Allison helps other cast members, too, the same way she helps me with my pom-poms. She’s like the wizard in Oz behind the curtain, making all the stage magic happen.
All of a sudden I’m sad because she isn’t taking a bow with the rest of us.
The applause is as much for her as for those of us on stage. If anything, she’s worked harder than any of us. But Allison doesn’t look sad. She looks positively content, and I can’t help but wonder: What is that like? Working behind the curtain? Holding someone else’s pom-poms? And never receiving any applause? Would I be as content doing the same?
In Philippians 2:14-16, Paul says we shine like stars when we do the things in front of us without grumbling, holding to the word of life.
We don’t have to put ourselves on a stage — under a spotlight — to shine.
We simply need to live a life that follows in Christ’s footsteps. We humble ourselves. We serve others. We complete the tasks we’re given without complaining. We do the things most people would wince at. And we do them with a glad heart. We don’t need to tell anyone about them, either.
As a young twenty-something on stage, I struggled to understand Allison’s joy in serving behind the scenes. I thought the real joy was out on stage, taking bows under bright lights. But Allison knew something I didn’t: We find the deepest delight when we serve in hidden ways.
Allison has become one of my hidden heroes. She showed me what it looks like to be a woman holding pom-poms for another woman.
That’s who I want to be today — someone cheering wildly for her friends.
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
I think as I’ve gotten older (and hopefully wiser). I’ve graduated from thinking I always had to be the one one stage, to really getting a charge out of cheering others on. I think much of it comes from being more secure in where my identity comes from – it’s rooted in God and His lavish love for me. So much love that He was willing to send His precious Son to die for me. Really letting that Truth sink from head knowledge into heart knowledge enables me to live my life for an audience of One. So whether I’m out on stage giving my best performance, it’s not mainly the audience I’m doing it for anymore, it’s God. Or, if I’m the one behind the scenes cheering my friends on in their successes, again, I’m doing it for my audience of One. God has encouraged me through so many trials, it is my pleasure to “pay it forward” to encourage and cheer others on. In all things, my prayer is that God would get the glory. More of Him. Less of me. Beautiful example of the lasting impact of having a servant’s heart.
Pearl Allard says
Bev, I appreciate your comment. It takes a secure woman to encourage someone “succeeding more” than her.
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
It’s taking me a LOOOONNNNG time to get to this place. I used to be a spotlight hog, but thanks to God’s gentle humbling, I find it’s just as fun, if not more, to cheer others on. Have a good weekend!
Michele Morin says
YES! Every Sunday morning, we are able to worship in a building because a whole army of hidden heroes has turned on the heat or cleaned the bathrooms. They have photocopied bulletins or fiddled with the sound system and the power point. There’s a vase of flowers on the front table that has appeared “by magic.”
Thanks for this shout out to the servants who perform for an audience of One.
Donna Jones says
What a great reminder, Denise–especially in our “selfie” centered world. I sometimes think about who will get the most rewards when we stand before Jesus. No doubt, the biggest commendations will go to those who served unsung and unnoticed by man, but not by God. Thanks for the beautiful reminder to serve for Jesus alone.
Sarah Beckman says
this is so wise. Thank you for the reminder. so much to ponder and change! thank you
So true. I struggled with wanting to always be “on stage.” Slowly my heart is changing and now I just make it an appoint not to get recognition and that has helped a lot. Thank you for this. I think of the verse that talks about not letting your right hand know what your left hand is doing, when it was talking about praying in your closet. I hope you know what verse I am talking about:)
Thank-you so much for sharing this positive post Jennifer. I thought I’d share this from a clip I saw: Think, Feel, & Do for the Glory of God.That’s really what matters, for His glory, not our’s.
Have a blessed day all,
Love it. ♥
Rebecca L Jones says
Whatever you for His glory, backstage or on, Jesus is the main attraction. He gets a standing ovation.
Pearl Allard says
“We find the deepest delight when we serve in hidden ways.” It’s often counterintuitive, isn’t it? Thank you, Denise.
Beth Williams says
I’ve never really been a sot light hog. I’m more of an Allison type. Love helping others succeed in their plans. We can work together to achieve a goal & let God get all the glory! This reminds me of a Stephen C. Curtis song: Do Everything: Your picking up toys on the living room floor for the fifteenth time today Matching up socks Sweeping up lost cheerios that got away You put a baby on your hip Color on your lips and head out the door …Little stuff Big stuff In between stuff God sees it all the same. Yes God sees the little stuff-the behind the scenes as well as the big stuff on stage in spotlight. He applauds it all the same.
I understand Allison so much more now that I have children and get to watch them perform, play, develop, flourish, and succeed! I think watching them has skyrocketed my desire to help other people as well. I love getting to see the face of others beam and light up because of their accomplishment that I may have had a hand helping come to fruition. God bless!