Lessons from an anonymous stagehand

David Burchett

Last night the lovely Mrs.Burchett and I enjoyed a wonderful night of music with Michael W.Smith, the Dallas Symphony, and hundreds of our closest friends. Michael’s Christmas Time Tour 2006 is fun, inspiring, touching, and glorifying to God. See it if you have a chance. But the biggest spiritual takeaway for me came from a most unlikely person.

Michael W.Smith has more musical talent in one hair follicle than I have in my entire body. And I confess that I entertained a bit of envy in the early part of the concert. I always wanted to be a musician but I just didn’t want to commit to that whole practice and hard work thing. Right after I moved past my talent deficit envy I happened to notice, really notice, something that happens at every concert. At the end of a stirring song a stagehand quietly and efficiently moved onto the stage, set up two microphones, and left without fanfare.

And it occurred to me that his small role in this gigantic production was enormously important. The next event was Smith reading the Christmas account from Scripture as a musician accompanied his narration. Because of the unnoticed stagehand the transition was seamless and the effect was powerful. No one applauded the stagehand. He might have felt unappreciated. He might have envied the acclaim that Michael W.Smith receives. He might have noticed that the audience applauded the arrival of the first chair violinist and the conductor. He might have wished for the rousing applause reserved for the other vocalists and the instrumental soloists.

But I kept thinking about the stagehand who carefully set the mikes in exactly the right place. I thought about the dozens of unseen technicians that made a magical evening of music happen. Incredibly vital people who did their jobs without a single moment of public adoration. God always sees the stagehand that humbly does his part. God values the technician who makes the music happen without personal recognition. I believe that God would view that stagehand’s seemingly insignificant contribution as being just as important as the people in the spotlight when that small role is offered with worship.

Paul used the body as a metaphor for how every part of the body of Christ is vital and valuable. In his letter to the Corinthians the Apostle writes about the distribution of spiritual gifts.

But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it. How strange a body would be if it had only one part! Yes, there are many parts, but only one body. The eye can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you.”  In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary.

I realize that I am prone to say it is all about Him and then get upset if no one notices me. So who is it really all about? If my service is for Him I am confident that God takes note. Should it really matter if anyone else does? I am the first to confess that such notice is nice and appreciated. But should it really matter?

If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad.  All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it.

I am not always glad when another part of the body is honored. How quickly I forget the unmerited gift of grace. If we really comprehended what that meant would we ever question what is in it for me? As I meditate on that today I pray that I will choose to praise God and be content even if He asks me to be the anonymous stagehand that no one ever applauds.