In my early 20s, I got my first “ministry” job. I was a college intern at a large church. Ohhh, how I loved the Lord and ministering in His name! And then something funky happened. Alongside the college pastor, I helped get 60 or so college students to a Christian winter camp. The speaker was mesmerizing – almost godlike. And that’s when it happened. I remember thinking, that’s what I want to do. While I didn’t think of speaking to the masses in terms of fame per se, that’s effectually what happened.
While the stories vary, what I just described happens to thousands upon thousands of young believers. For at least part of it, the system’s to blame. For another part, it’s cultural; we Americans value achievement. And we must own up to our part, too. For all sorts of reasons, our flesh cries out, I want to be important. Said another way, I want to be godlike.
Now, does God “bench” us because our priorities are out of whack? No, not always. In fact, that’s usually not the case. Usually, it’s because some of the best stuff happens when we’re out of the limelight. What believer, for example, isn’t grateful for King David’s shepherd and cave years? Or Moses’s Midian years? Or Yeshua’s carpenter years? Was Paul somehow less productive during his “lost” decade? I think not. Truly, it’s a matter of right perspective. Listen to Paul: “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life…” (1 Thess 4:11). While Paul was certainly addressing some Thessalonian-specific issues, there’s no doubt in my mind Paul understood the power of an ordinary and obedient life.
Things have certainly changed for this ol’ bird. While the spotlight has always alluded me, it’s no longer a concern of mine. Maybe I’ve just come to terms with it. Or maybe I’ve been spooked by what fame does to people. Or maybe, just maybe, I’ve come to truly appreciate the value of a quiet life – as a man who believes there’s just as much power in obediently riding the pine as there is in making the buzzer-beating shot.