The legendary country music star Glen Campbell once toured and recorded with the Beach Boys. (It’s possible some of our young folks don’t recognize the name of either of those acts. Parents, do your job!) Campbell, a legendary guitar picker, likes to say he played bass for the band, but he wasn’t a “bass player.” I heard him liken the concept to ordinary people in the casinos. They may be playing blackjack, but they aren’t black jack players.
You catch the difference? It’s one thing to pick up a hobby casually, or in a context where no one is paying attention. (For the uninitiated, the Beach Boys aren’t famous for their great bass licks. Seriously, young people, use your Pandotify accounts for something actually worth listening to.) It’s quite another to put yourself in the spotlight and tell the world, “Hey, pay attention to me — I’m really good at this.”
Perhaps that’s the motivation behind Christians putting their lamps under a bushel (Matthew 5:15). Set expectations low, and you don’t let anyone down with your mediocrity. Unfortunately for all you underachievers out there, God puts the spotlight on us whether we want it there or not, whether we’re worthy of it or not. He hands us our instrument, the gospel of Jesus Christ (Romans 1:16), and tells us to play. No, he tells us to be players.
I can watch YouTube videos of Glen Campbell, Chet Atkins, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and any number of great pickers out there, and be content to just shake my head in amazement. I don’t get off that easily in the Lord’s service. It’s my job to be a player. And if my performance is not up to concert standards, I need to practice until it is. And then keep practicing.