Last Saturday, my cousin took our family to a Beatles’ tribute concert. Her husband, a musician, pointed out the authenticity of the band’s instruments – including a replica of George Harrison’s dark red Les Paul guitar, a gift from Eric Clapton, and McCartney’s stripped down Epiphone. Those psychedelic satin Sgt. Pepper costumes weren’t bad either.
Before the show began I had to share a story one of my staff members just told me. It was 1964, and she had gone to see the Beatles with her girlfriends at the Hollywood Bowl. She had third row seats; and as the Fab Four came out and began their first song, she and her friends redefined “fan”. I’m not talking about uncontrollable weeping, screaming, or jumping up and down. That’s for amateurs. In those days, a pool encircled the Bowl stage, a space now used for seating. She and her friends dived into that pool, and jumped up on stage as John and Paul stepped back in horror – and fearing that water would short out their sound system.
“You’re kidding me,” I said. “No.” “Then what?” “Security guards grabbed us,” she said, “and took us behind the back stage curtain where we had to sit for the entire concert.” “Wow! Were you upset?” “No, we loved it! We were a few feet away; and we could hear the concert better than anyone else!” After the concert, Ringo came back to give a fatherly scolding; while Paul shook his finger and said, “Don’t ever do that again.” Now that’s a fan!
Whether or not you were a fan of the Beatles, or David Bowie, or Prince who just died, we can certainly admire them for using their tremendous talents with such success. Yet don’t we assume that “talented” is what we call a select group with exceptional abilities? In fact, the word comes from a parable Jesus told about the miraculous potential of every human life (Matt. 25: 14-30). “Talents” are the gifts, opportunities, and resources God has given us for the sake of his kingdom. Our churches can be so consumer-driven, that we think of it mainly as a place to get our needs met. But God is “fanatical” about that church where we come to discover and use our gifts to advance his kingdom cause and serve others. Have a great week!