Last Friday, while passing through my family room to the panty, I stopped short to watch Chet Atkins and Jeff Beck, two outstanding guitarists playing at NAMM 2011 on TV.  According to the NAMM website, this is an association that exists “for the interest of the global music products industry.”   World renowned for their skill and talent as musicians, Chet Atkins and Jeff Beck were playing on the new Martin performance guitars being introduced during the exposition.

Even though both men are valued among the top guitarists in the world,  the thing which impressed me was not their performance skills.  All of their concentration was focused on a third, less skilled performer.  They had allowed him to become the lead guitar and neither expert took his eyes off  the hands of the lead guitarist.

There were two things that shocked and impressed me about the performance.  First, they allowed the least skilled musician to become the lead and their skills was focused like a laser at making the man with the least skill look better.  Second, was their concentration on his hands as they followed him, supporting and even improving on his talents.

I felt the Lord clearly speak to my heart, “That’s what your ministry needs to be–supporting and allowing others to out shine you.”  I stood mesmerized by the three men.  Meanwhile, God seared into my heart that Atkins and Beck loved music and the guitar more than they loved being a shining star

Again, God spoke to my heart, “This is what makes these men great musicians.  They remain willing to sacrifice themselves and their personal gain for the sake of the ultimate performance.” 

I wanted to weep because my mind shifted to the many men and women who have done this for me.  They have helped me to be better than I really am.  Sometimes, they pushed or pulled me along.  Other times they allowed me to step eagerly into the spotlight, delighting in my talents and abilities.  From the beginning of my experience with The Special Gathering, a ministry within the mentally challenged, this is what drew me.  Originally, I had come to write a book about the ministry.  To my surprise, I was steered to the members to interview them for stories and impressions.  One deacon said, “At Special Gathering, I can be a leader.  My teachers and volunteers help me to be the best that I can be. I can use my talents here.”

Our Christian walk is not always to be the shining star, the best performer, the greatest, the smartest, or the most outstanding.  There are times that being the one on center stage is good and appropriate.  However, there are other times that God is saying to us, “Make the lesser person the lead.  Look at their hands.  Improve what they do.  Work hard to make what they do more important in my Kingdom than what you do.” 

When Jesus left the earth, he said that we should be his hands and feet.  He had told his disciples that guided by the Holy Spirit we would do greater works than he had done.  Watching Atkins and Beck, I saw this principle in action.  Amazing God.  Amazing life.