Fishers UMC Blog

Practice Playing Second Fiddle

I can’t stop thinking about Romans 12:10, particularly its last sentence from The Message translation:

Be good friends who love deeply;
practice playing second fiddle.

I preached on this text and its surrounding verses several weeks ago, and love the way Eugene Peterson puts Paul’s words into today’s vernacular:  Be good friends.  Love deeply.  Practice playing second fiddle.  It has called to mind all of those “good friends” I’ve had over the years, the ones who have loved me and my family deeply.  It’s also challenged me, making me ask hard questions like: To whom might I be considered a “good friend”?  Am I “loving deeply” or do I more frequently content myself with surface-y conversations and relationships?  And, if I am content to do so, what is keeping me from wading into deeper waters with people?

Good questions to ask.  Being self-aware is important.  Being a “good friend who loves deeply” is even more so.  But what about that second line?  “Practice playing second fiddle.”

I’ve started reading a book recently entitled, “Is It Time? Helping Laity and Clergy Discuss Homosexuality One Question at a Time” by Adolf Hansen – the “Theologian In Residence” at St. Luke’s UMC in Indianapolis.  In the introduction, Hansen invites the reader to “ask questions rather than formulate answers” because too frequently people jump to defend or attack certain points of view.  What a novel approach.

Asking questions liberates us from the burden of being the know-it-all.

Asking questions gives us permission to learn.

Asking questions invites us to play second fiddle.

And I can’t help but wonder if asking questions isn’t also a way of being a “good friend” and “loving deeply.”  I get so tired of pundits and posts, tweets and hot takes that are spouted off 24/7.  I get tired of watching people talk past one another.  I grow weary of people always wanting to take the lead, of feeling compelled to be “right,” and the utter lack of humility that has spread through our culture and infected each one of us worse than what this year’s flu influenza is doing.

I know I’m teetering on sounding preachy right now, but that is of course what I am – a preacher.  And the only message I know to preach is the one that was modeled for us by Jesus Himself.  The One who loved deeply, and became good friends with bad sinners.  The One who…

being in very nature God,
   did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
   by taking the very nature of a servant,
   being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
   he humbled himself
   by becoming obedient to death—
       even death on a cross! - Philippians 2

Lent is about to begin.  Perhaps it is indeed time – time for us to start playing second fiddle, time for us to love deeper, time for us to become better friends, time for us to be more like Christ.

To the cross we go,

Pastor Jared
Associate Pastor
Posted by Jared Kendall with

We Were Made For This

Recently I attended a conference of 1600 people involved in Children’s Ministry. The conference began with an incredible prayer experience. This experience brought people together in a way I have never experienced at a conference, this large before. As people genuinely engaged in the prayer experiences, barriers were broken, hearts were healed, eternal friendships were formed and unity in Christ became the norm. We explored throughout the week the phrase “We Were Made for This.”. As I spent time listening, engaging in conversation, worshipping and praying, several things became evident.

  1. When we admit our doubts, failures and struggles healing begins to happen.
  2. When we release anger, bitterness and frustration, it is replaced with the “Peace of God.”
  3. When we are at a loss for identity, we are reminded by God that we are made for a purpose.
  4. When God’s people are vulnerable with each other, the realization is that we are more alike than different and we do not have to prove ourselves.
  5. When we are genuine with each other, others who identify with the same struggles are encouraged and find hope in their own lives.
  6. When we live in a tough world where the struggles are real, it is easy to ignore the struggles other are going through.
  7. When we encounter a person we have no idea of their life journey, unless we ask and listen.
  8. When we are rushed and consumed with tasks, we miss the opportunity to minister to those with whom we encounter.
  9. When we are faithful and fervent we bear the fruit of the promises of God and can share that fruit.
  10. When we are provided time to share the journey with others who share the same calling, creativity abounds and the ripple effects can be felt in communities across this nation.

As I reread and think about this list, it goes far beyond a conference experience. It embodies the church, we are called to be a part of. It embodies the hopes, dreams and needs of people in our communities. It is a reminder to me of our call and purpose as a part of the kingdom of God.

If this Blog resonates in any way with you. Email me to go deeper, through conversation, time around a table, or extended email conversations.

Larry Crane
Director of Children's Ministries

Posted by Larry Crane with

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