Jimmy and I married just as his music career was kicking into high gear. We were both eager to honor God in this season and often asked for words of wisdom from older men and women in our lives. Above all that we heard, there were two things that resonated deeply with us both and that we still recount today.
1. The stage is the most dangerous
place for the human heart.
A stage can give you authority, power, and attention. It can give you purpose and meaning. And most dangerously, the stage can be addicting. One taste of the praise, adoration, and attention brought by an audience can hook you for life.
2. No one can handle worship but God.
We are the created ones. We are not meant to be the object of other people’s affections, hopes, dreams, and love. We cannot handle it. We are not meant to. There’s a reason so many celebrities seem to implode once in the spotlight; they cannot handle being worshiped.
A Culture of Audience-Building
Most stages today aren’t like the ones in your old high school auditorium. A stage can be anything that creates an audience for you. Twitter and Instagram, blogs and YouTube channels, websites and books are all forms of stages. Through these online avenues, you can now create your own audience with little to no risk at all. You don’t have to stare people in the eyes from your stage. It can be a stage on your own terms.
In addition to the easy access to a stage, our culture celebrates audience building. Wowed by those who’ve made it to the top, many long to join the ranks of those vloggers and bloggers with millions of followers. But for those who follow the Jesus who taught us that true greatness is servanthood (Mark 10:43–45), is it ever okay to pursue a stage? To promote a blog? To write a book? To seek out new followers? If the stage is so dangerous for our hearts, how do we view platforms we might already have?
Lessons from a Locust-Eating Man
In answering these questions, let’s look at a man who had a huge platform, one whom Jesus said was the greatest man to ever live (Matt 11:11).