Lauren and Mikaela--identical twins living on opposite coasts--blog about the story of life and their adventures in faith.

2.19.2010

Follow the Leader

A shriek in response to an e-mail usually means
a) You are terribly excited about the contents of the e-mail.
b) You are terribly worried by the contents of the e-mail.
c) You just opened up an e-mail with a lethal virus that exploded your computer and sent shrapnel flying.
My shriek was due to a combination of a and b, and I still don’t know whether I should be more excited or worried.
I’ll explain.
Every month or so, the musicians in our community gather on a Saturday morning for a meeting of the Chamber Music Society. We divide into two or three groups and have two hours to work a quartet, trio, or the like up to par. We then come back together and perform for each other. This is always a delightful experience, and I am usually in the first or second violin part, sawing away and letting others do the leading. This time, I examined the line-up beforehand and discovered that I was to be a first violin, along with the concertmaster of our symphony. I would definitely have to get some practice in before Saturday, I decided.

And that was when I got this e-mail, which elicited the aforementioned shriek! The concertmaster’s short and sweet note said: “Hey Lauren, I hope you’re practicing because I just remembered I’ll be out of town on Saturday.”

This means that come tomorrow morning I will be the only first violin against a slew of second violins (one of whom has now been recruited to back me up), and I get to lead the whole miscellaneous group of musicians—young and old. Guess what I’m doing today? (-:
The necessary ingredient in leading a group of musicians is confidence—you have to play it correctly and not jump over to join in someone else’s mistake just because it sounded right. But you also have to be humble. I’ve seen plenty of cocky, overbearing, critical section leaders whom everyone rolls their eyes at as soon as the leader’s back is turned. This shove to leadership has also given me plenty of incentive to prepare. When I’m just another violin in the group, I might look at the music for ten minutes. This time, I’ve spent ten times that, for I simply have to be able to play it perfectly. (Maybe that was the concertmaster's shrewd plan all along...)

The plain truth is that if I don’t lead the group, I’m following. If I don’t influence, I’m being influenced. Following is often not a bad thing, but there are those times when it’s a cop-out, and we all know exactly when those times are. It’s when following is what we resort to so we don’t have to spend three hours practicing. It’s when we fall back on following so we don’t have to shoulder responsibility for getting a quartet ready in two hours. It’s when we are influenced because we haven’t even put in the time to know in what direction to influence others. It’s when we do something wrong simply because we don’t know what’s right.

Being prepared to be a leader doesn’t mean you have to hold a position of leadership like concertmaster, elder, mother, or teacher. Furthermore, our leadership should never usurp the God-given positions of leadership. In Judges 4, Barak wasn’t a general, but that didn’t stop God from wanting him to lead the army! Barak, however, hadn’t prepared himself to lead and, just like me, he shrieked. “And Barak said to her, ‘If you will go with me, then I will go; but if you will not go with me, I will not go!’ (Judges 4:8)”

Moses shrieked too. He was just a lowly shepherd with a past from which he was trying to escape. He thought of every excuse in the book before he finally got to the heart of the matter: “Then Moses said to the LORD, ‘O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.’ (Exodus 4:10)” Thankfully, God never asks of us what He has not equipped us to do: “So the LORD said to him, ‘Who has made man's mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the LORD? Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say.’ (Ex. 4:11-12)”

When George Washington was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army, he wrote to his wife that the "whole army raised for the defense of the American Cause shall be put under my care….You may believe me my dear…when I assure you in the most solemn manner, that, so far from seeking this appointment, I have used every endeavor in my power to avoid it." So even George Washington “shrieked”!

It’s a good thing for all of us then that I Corinthians 1:26-29 is in the Bible: “For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence.”

We may just be the lowly soldier, not the leader of wars. We may just be the humble, sinful shepherd, not the ambassador. We may just be the farmer, not the Commander-in Chief of the army. We may just be the violinist in the back, not the leader. We may just be the daughter at home, not the “Mother of Christianity,” but we need to prepare to be these people. We need to be content where we are, but ready every moment for the position God may call us to step into. Humility is good, but are we disguising our fear and laziness as humility? Too often, fear is the only thing keeping the shriek in our mouth while laziness glues our feet to the floor. Yes, for most of our lives we are called to follow, but the most pivotal times in history have required the humblest of people to become leaders. The future of Christianity will hang on our response to God’s call in our own lives: will we skulk in the back, shrieking and refusing to allow God to put us at the head of an army, or will we put our hand in His, our faith in His strength, and say with Mary, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word (Luke 1:38)”?


Picture Credit

2 comments:

  1. You'll do great Lauren!
    I'll be praying for you!
    <3 Kelsey :o)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you so much Kelsey! I really appreciated your prayers!(-: Everything went, not mistake-free, but pretty smoothly, and it ended up being a lot of fun!

    ReplyDelete

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